Friday, Jun 22, 2018
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Peter J. Hoffmann, 1929-2012: Antiques restorationist known for eye for detail

Peter J. Hoffmann, whose ingenuity and eye for color and detail aided his success as a restorer of artwork, antiques, even delicate figurines thought beyond repair, has died in a Dunedin, Fla., hospital. He was 82 and had lymphoma.

His late father, Clare J. Hoffman, was a leading Toledo area interior designer for a half-century. His mother, Geralda Pheatt Hoffman, owned high-fashion women's apparel shops.

"Both of them were very successful, talented people," his wife, Linda, said.

Mr. Hoffmann came to his creative and professional niche more than 30 years ago and worked from a tiny studio behind his Perrysburg home. Clients learned of him mostly from other satisfied clients.

"He could take a dish that was smashed to smithereens, put it together, match up the paint, put the glaze on it," his wife said. "He was detail oriented and created his own tools to achieve the look he was after."

In a 1988 Blade article about antique restoration, Mr. Hoffmann said that a postive attitude was important.

"I've never run into a piece that couldn't be repaired," Mr. Hoffmann said. He added that he often received pieces that amateurs tried to fix.

"Sometimes I have to undo bad restoration or old restoration before I can repair a piece," Mr. Hoffmann told The Blade.

As a child, he put together airplanes and automobiles from kits. His first pre-professional save was of a broken Staffordshire figurine his mother was about to throw away.

He and his wife spent winters at their condominium in Tarpon Springs, Fla., and even on their most recent stay, he'd brought work from a customer. He died Feb. 4.

He was born Oct. 17, 1929, and grew up in Toledo, Maumee, and Perrysburg. He attended Maumee Valley Country Day School and St. George's School, Newport, R.I., and was a graduate of Ottawa Hills High School. His mother once had a shop in Harbor Springs, Mich., where he spent many childhood summers. He attended Miami University and was a graduate of Bowling Green State University. He was an Army veteran and served in Germany during the Korean War.

He worked for both parents’ businesses. In the 1960s, he had his own men’s furnishings division within his mother’s Geralda Pheatt Inc. He knew how to dress for occasions formal, business, or casual, and a 1964 newspaper profile noted “his courtly manner.” He once smoked cigarettes with a cigarette holder, his wife said.

“He was a gentle gentleman. He was of a different era,” his wife said.

His mother was a Toledo Animal Shelter board member and, in 1973, the shelter dedicated its puppy and kitten wing in her honor. He was a shelter supporter, too, and an animal lover.

“If there was a stray around, he would go to great lengths to make sure it found a home,” his wife said.

His marriages to the former Henrietta Ellis and the former Carol Herbert ended in divorce.

Surviving are his wife, Linda Hoffmann, whom he married May 23, 1980, and stepsons, Douglas and Russell Blatch.

There will be no services. Arrangements are by the Witzler-Shank Funeral Home, Perrysburg. The family suggests tributes to the Toledo Animal Shelter.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: or 419-724-6182.

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