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Josef Anton "Tony" Hofmann

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Josef Anton "Tony" Hofmann Obituary
Josef Anton "Tony" Hofmann of Cambridge, retired solid-state research physicist, home stereo entrepreneur, and Peanuts aficionado, died peacefully on Nov. 12, 2010 of complications of lung cancer and a series of strokes. He was 86. Mr. Hofmann was born on July 22, 1924, in London, England, the oldest of three sons of Josef Hofmann, an internationally renowned concert pianist and composer, and Elizabeth Short, an accomplished pianist. The family immigrated to the U.S. in 1927, and Mr. Hofmann spent his youth in Philadelphia and Los Angeles. He graduated from Fairfax High School in Los Angeles in 1942 and spent one year at the California Institute of Technology. In 1943, he was recruited into the U.S. Army, where he received advanced training in engineering at University of Pennsylvania before being sent to work on the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos. After WWII, Mr. Hofmann continued his studies at Harvard University. He received his AB Magna Cum Laude in Engineering Sciences and Applied Physics in 1948 and was admitted to Phi Beta Kappa. He earned an MA in 1950 and a PhD in 1953. During this time, he met Trudi Takayama, a graduate student in architecture, and they were married on Sept. 10, 1951. In 1953, he began working at the U.S. Army Materials and Mechanics Research Center, in Watertown, conducting research in the field of solid-state physics (semiconductors and crystalline structures). An avid audiophile, Mr. Hofmann became one of four partners of Acoustic Research (which introduced the AR-1 in 1954, the first acoustic-suspension loudspeaker system), a co-founder of KLH Research & Development Corporation (which introduced the KLH model 11 portable stereo in 1962, the first transistorized record player), and a partner in Advent Corporation (which introduced the Advent 201 in 1971, one of the first high fidelity cassette decks to incorporate Dolby noise reduction). In addition to his research in physics and his work in home high fidelity equipment, Mr. Hofmann enjoyed sharing his passion for classical music, sailing, and horseback riding with his children. After he retired in 1989, Mr. Hofmann focused his time on reading, traveling, developing expertise in photography, optics and investing, and spending time with his grandchildren. He was an enthusiastic collector of Peanuts memorabilia, and a big fan of the character, Snoopy. Mr. Hofmann was an avid student of history and economics, was fascinated by numbers, and had an exceptional ability to concentrate. At times, he was unable to resist editing whatever text came before his eyes. In all, he was a man dedicated to critical thinking. Mr. Hofmann was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. He is survived by his wife, Trudi Hofmann; three children, Karin, Jan, and Bettina Hofmann; and two grandchildren, Benjamin and Nathan Wearin (Karins children), and nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his half-sister, Josefa, and brothers, Edward and Peter. Mr. Hofmann will be interred at Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge. A memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to the public radio and television station, WGBH (P.O. Box 55875, Boston, MA 02205-5875). For info and online guestbook, www.brownandhickey.com.

Published in The Cambridge Chronicle from Dec. 7 to Dec. 21, 2010
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