Elmer H. Hoff Jr.'s 90th birthday in 2011 was a rousing success, thanks to four members of the University of Pittsburgh's Marching Band who helped him celebrate at his home in Robinson.
Led by band director Jack Anderson, three trumpet players sounded off with "Hail to Pitt," the "Pitt Victory Song" and "Happy Birthday." They also gave him a Pitt band T-shirt and ball cap. Mr. Hoff, a former trumpet player with the marching band, was delighted.
"We had a grand time," Mr. Anderson said.
Mr. Hoff, the oldest surviving member of the university's marching band, died at home Sunday. He was 92.
After graduating from Pitt with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1943, he served in the Army during World War II. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge and was a member of the Red Ball Express, the full-speed-ahead unit that delivered supplies to the front.
He spent his entire career in the steel industry in Pittsburgh and worked at a number of companies, including Lewis Foundry, Swindell Dressler and Salem Brocious. He retired from Crucible Material research in 1987.
His gardens were legendary. Mr. Hoff had a number of fruit trees and enjoyed woodworking.
His passion was sailing on Deep Creek Lake, where he maintained a weekend retreat with his wife, Mary Jane, and their three daughters. He built his first sailboat at age 16 from plans he found in Popular Mechanics. His mother sewed the sails. He refurbished a "Snipe" sailboat and then bought a "Flying Scot" that he sailed until he was 87. He taught sailing to anyone who was interested.
Mr. Hoff was a lifetime member of the Forest Grove Volunteer Fire Company, where he helped to build the original firehouse. He was a former member of the Robinson Township Zoning Board and an elder, deacon and fundraiser at the Forest Grove Community Church.
"To this day I thank him for the many down-to-earth values and work ethic that he gave me," said one of his daughters, Nancy Hoff Barsotti, an interior designer from Rosslyn Farms. "It was a great foundation for owning my own business."
In addition to his wife of 69 years and Ms. Barsotti, Mr. Hoff is survived by daughters Margaret Ann Coulter of Kennedy and Loriann Laurenzano of Queenstown, Md.; two sisters, Jeanne Dingel of Whitehall and Edythe Millar of Woodford, Va.; and three grandchildren.
There will be no visitation. A time of fellowship for family and friends will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Forest Grove Community Church, followed by a funeral service at 11 a.m.
Mr. Hoff will be buried with full military honors in the Bethel Cemetery in Bethel Park where a Pitt trumpet player will perform. A fire truck from the Forest Grove Volunteer Fire Company will lead the procession to the cemetery.
Memorial contributions payable to the University of Pittsburgh Elmer Hoff Pitt Band Scholarship Fund can be sent to Pitt's Office of Institutional Advancement, 128 Craig St., Pittsburgh, PA 15260.