Mary Ann Hoffman

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” — II Timothy 4:7

Mary Ann (Stark) Hoffman, 74, was called home to be with the Lord on Dec. 11, 2018, in Bakersfield. Her passing brought about a joyous heavenly reunion with her sons, Richard Hoffman and Robert Hoffman, and her beloved husband, Rev. Robert Hoffman, who all preceded her in death.

Mary Ann was born on Jan. 14, 1944, in Vallejo, to Wilbur and Mary (McLaughlin) Stark. The young family soon relocated to Ridgecrest, where Mary Ann grew up along with her two younger brothers. She attended Burroughs High School and graduated in 1961.

With a strong faith in the Lord and a desire to serve others, Mary Ann attended Concordia Teacher’s College in Seward, Neb. Upon graduation in 1965, she accepted a call to teach at a Lutheran school in Chicago’s inner city. She truly loved teaching her second- and third-graders who were “hungry for knowledge.”

In 1967 Mary Ann married Robert Hoffman who had recently graduated from a seminary. As they served the Lord together, their marriage was blessed with two sons, Rick in 1969 and Bobby in 1971. After many years the Hoffmans moved back to Ridgecrest where Bob became pastor of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church and Mary Ann served as principal of Ridgecrest Christian School.

While she loved her family and enjoyed teaching children about God’s Saving Love in Jesus, Mary Ann, also, had a desire to share the Gospel around the world. In the 1990s and early 2000s, she was involved in seven mission trips to Russia, Australia, Africa, Madagascar, China and Mexico. The last mission trip she and her husband took together with Open Doors-God’s Smugglers was to Chiapas, Mexico. These trips involved participation in salvation and healing crusades, street ministry, distributing (sometimes smuggling) Bibles, food and clothing and constant prayer with and for the people. She wrote “My mind, spirit, compassion and experience have greatly been expanded by the seven mission trips I was able to go on.”

From 2004-07, Mary Ann went through some extremely difficult times that few have ever experienced. “My husband Bob had a neck surgery after which he fell and broke his neck. He passed away in May 2004. Our sons both had problems with their bone marrow for years. Rick had a bone marrow transplant and died in May 2005. Bobby’s lungs were too weak, and he passed away in April 2007. I lost them all in 35 months.”

In Mary Ann’s grieving and sorrow, her faith deepened and strengthened. She continued interacting with intimate Christian friends. Many of them were members of Aglow International who had gone on mission trips with her. She found that the Lord used her and her personal experiences to support others as they went through personal losses.

Mary Ann took joy in helping and praying for others. She was a proud grandmother and great-grandmother. The final years of her life were a struggle, but she remained faithful to her Lord. In one of her last family visits, while unable to speak, she still sang the song “Jesus Loves Me” with a gleam in her eyes and a smile on her face. I can almost hear her say: “Jesus Loves You, too.”

Mary Ann is survived by her bothers Robert Stark of Ridgecrest and William Stark of Kalispell, Mont.; daughter-in-law, Amy (Hoffman) Taylor; grandchildren Kayli Paris, Emily Gross, Boaz Hoffman and Natalie Hoffman; and great-grandchildren Ryan Smith, Makenzie Smith, Alex Paris, Ava Paris and Grace Gross.

Family and friends are invited to a “Celebration of Life” Saturday, Jan. 12, at 11 a.m. at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church. A lunch reception will follow the service.

— Submitted by the family of Mary Ann Hoffman

Story First Published: 2019-01-04