David Isaac Hoff passed May 6, 2013 from complications of lung cancer. Born at home on February 21, 1942, he was the ninth child of Fred and Laila (Teigen) Hoff. David often said that he was born upstairs while his sisters were making pies downstairs. As he grew he followed his siblings to country school. David spoke of his sister Eyvonne reading his favorite poem Wynken, Blynken and Nod. Even though he was little he was perched on the tractor while his siblings picked rocks in the fields. David's father bought and traded farmland and buildings so David and his brothers learned to fix everything and build anything. In little Sacred Heart young boys were to stay busy and productive. This expectation did not stop his brothers from tying David up in a cornfield playing cowboys and Indians.
The 1960 Class of Sacred Heart School, 28 graduates, met for its last all-school reunion in 2010. All but two classmates attended with David attending for the first time. David did note that he lettered in all sports but did so because there were so few to man teams.
During college David traveled to Great Slave Lake in the Yukon. There he studied wolves as a research biologist. His lifelong interest in ornithology led to work for the US Wildlife Bureau and the Smithsonian, work that took him to the South Pacific. With a Bachelor of Science Degree in Wildlife Techniques and Conservation from South Dakota State he worked as a refuge manager in Saginaw, Mich., but was drawn back to beautiful Hawaii. Between bodysurfing and serving sloppy joes to hungry surfers from the lunch wagon, Last Supper Diner, he met many friends. One of these friends became his wife, Darla. Their love grew aboard the sailboat No Hu Hu (No Worries). Sailing in the islands and barging their Volkswagen van from Oahu to the outer islands, they found the beauty that was Hawaii.
David resumed carpentry and building, starting a construction company in 1973. Projects were mainly on Oahu, but he completed jobs on the Big Island. He was excited to create and build and his enthusiasm was contagious. One of his jobs was a home cantilevered into a hillside with an expansive view of Honolulu and the ocean beyond. David and Darla were married in this home on February 14, 1976.
The couple returned to the mainland in 1977 as it was Darla's idea to be close to family. Even so, David continued to wear Hawaiian shirts on every occasion for the rest of his life. Shipping two Volkswagens from Hawaii and driving to Montana, David and Darla arrived in Bozeman. David's contracting allowed him to work with many talented and creative people all over southwestern Montana and Yellowstone Park. David built from plans but figured out how to engineer and build amazing projects. With the birth of daughter, Laila, he designed and built a home on Sourdough Ridge which was barrier free. Throughout his contracting, David's knowledge and construction of accessibility adaptations helped many families. He was innovative in building to promote energy efficiency and use of solar energy. His ability to reduce, reuse and recycle started in Hawaii and notably with his Montana home on Perkins Place.
Lars and Rose completed the Hoff family and home became the center of many adventures. Nature and its wonders continued to be a focus with family camping in yet another Volkswagen. Spring break trips to Utah, trips to our wondrous national parks, family camp at Holland Lake and skiing at Bridger and Big Sky added to family life. David's self-employment allowed flexibility for family activities and his enthusiasm, energy and patience were invaluable.
David promoted studying and enjoying the natural world and the world of science. He had a gift for telling stories about events and places in Yellowstone Park and Montana. He exemplified the power of focus and hard work. His physical strength was legendary.
David was very proud of his Norwegian heritage and family. He loved and guided his children. David was excited to hear from people and always took time to talk and visit.
David leaves his brother, Fred O, sister Ruth (Lou), sister Eyvonne (Joe), and sister in law, Mary. He was preceded by his parents, his sisters Elaine, Corrine and infant sister Laila and brothers Ted and Jerry. He leaves cousins, nephews and nieces all over the world.
He is survived by his wife Darla, daughters Laila and Rose and son Lars.
A celebration of David's life will be held 2 p.m., Saturday May 18 at Hope Lutheran Church.
Memorials may be given to Hope Lutheran Church building fund, 2152 Graf, Bozeman, MT 59718.
Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.dahlcares.com.