HOFFMAN, Lathrop G.
November 13, 1924 - April 2, 2014
Lathrop G. Hoffman passed away from natural causes on April 2, with his entire family with him for his last days. He was born in Los Angeles as the 5th son of Paul G. and Dorothy B. Hoffman, and raised in South Bend, Indiana. He attended Thatcher School in Ojai and graduated from Putney School in Vermont in 1942, joining the army shortly thereafter to serve in India and China during World War II. He became the youngest 1st Lieutenant in the Army. Upon discharge from the Army in 1946, he returned to Los Angeles to attend UCLA. In 1947, he married Dorothy Anne Cleary, the daughter of close family friends James and Budie Cleary who had named her after Lathrop's mother. He graduated from UCLA in 1950 with a degree in banking and finance.
During college he supported himself in part by making jewelry (the Lathrop Gray Co), which he continued as a hobby throughout his life. After college he began in the automobile business with the PGH Company, selling Studebakers from the downtown Los Angeles dealership which he acquired in 1953. When Studebaker closed in the United States, he established Hoffman Tile, manufacturing ceramic tile in Claremont.
In 1971, he purchased the Volkswagen dealership on Sierra Avenue in Fontana. Since then, he has owned franchises for Acura, Alfa Romeo, Audi, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Daihatsu, Dodge, Fiat, GMC, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Isuzu, Jeep, Lincoln-Mercury, Maserati, Mazda, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Porsche, Ram, Saturn, Subaru and Volkswagen. Over the years, he had stores in Fontana, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Monrovia, Duarte, Alhambra, Riverside, San Luis Obispo, Fort Bragg and Eureka. He has been an influential dealer throughout, serving on many dealer association boards and dealer advertising boards. He was always a good neighbor dealer, supporting the communities he served and representing the retail automobile industry in a positive way.
He was a founder and board member of the Bank of Monrovia, which became Granite State Bank and was later acquired by Citizens Business Bank.
His community involvement ranged from serving as an advisor to the local redevelopment agency, participating in service clubs, serving as president of the Chamber of Commerce and giving financial support to many organizations, including the Boys and Girls Club, local police and fire departments, schools, little league and soccer teams, hospitals and the Monrovia Public Library. He was also an avid golfer and active member of the San Gabriel Country Club for many years. He was a long-time thoroughbred horse owner and breeder and a familiar face at the Santa Anita Racetrack. When he was 16 years old, his brother Hallock taught him to fly. He loved flying and was an accomplished pilot, with a license to fly single and multi-engine aircraft. He obtained his helicopter license when he was 79.
He is survived by his wife of over 66 years, Dorothy, and his sisters Barbara Henry (Richard) and Kiriki De Diego Metzo and seven children, Mary Lathrop Fahey (Jack), Peter Hoffman (Toni), Michael Hoffman (Rene), Elizabeth Hoffman, Thomas Hoffman (Ellen), Marguerite Winnacott (Neal) and Patricia Juett (Dennis). He is also survived by 18 grandchildren, Zachary Rounds, Megan Rounds Cadena (Robert), Parker Rounds, Jenny Fahey, Brian Hoffman, Leah Hoffman, Michael Hoffman, Haley Hoffman Stearns (Ethan), Ashley Hoffman, Paul Hoffman, Danna Hoffman, Robert Hoffman, Caitlin Winnacott, Brett Winnacott, Brendan Winnacott, Blair Winnacott, Blake Juett and Colin Juett, three great grandchildren, Gray Stearns, Molly Stearns and Maximilian Fahey, step-grandchildren Diana Atkinson and her three children Tyler, Summer and Logan and Silver Hartman (Paul) and their two children Sienna and Riley.
He was pre-deceased by his son Timothy in 2003 and his brothers Hallock, Peter, Donald and Robert.
Lathrop was a devoted family man whose great joy later in life was taking his entire family on annual vacations so they all could enjoy one another's company. He was a good, kind and generous man interested in every opportunity life offered him. He was an inspiration to his children and grandchildren, a consummate deal maker and a wonderful story teller.
Details of a memorial service or celebration are yet to be announced.
Published in Pasadena Star-News on Apr. 6, 2014