FULTON, NY – A memorial will be held next month to recognize a retired Fulton police officer who died earlier this week.
On July 17, Edward C. Hoffman was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer, which quickly spread into his liver and lymph nodes.
Hoffman, 63, of Sarasota, Fla., died on Wednesday at his home. He was born in Syracuse and was a gradate of APW schools.
A memorial service for the former Fulton resident will be held at Holy Trinity Parish on October 14 at 9:30 a.m.
Ed proudly served 22 years as a member of the Fulton Police Department, retiring in 1994. And, he still has roots in the Fulton area with many close friends and family members.
“The world truly lost a great man with his passing. I considered him a close friend who happened to be my father-in-law,” said Thomas Abelgore, assistant chief of the Fulton Police Department. “He will be greatly missed.”
Peter Franco, a retired member of the Fulton Police Department, agreed.
“Ed was like my partner when I started. He taught me a lot about being a police officer. We didn’t really have a training officer,” Franco explained. “He showed me the ropes and taught me how things went.”
Franco said Ed was a “street-wise” officer.
“He knew everybody and everybody liked and respected Ed,” Franco said. “He was able to get stuff done.”
In early July, Ed was found to have some blood clots.
“He had it checked out and then he called me. ‘Do you want to know my diagnosis?'” his bother George recalls Ed asking him. “I said, ‘I know, you have blood clots.’ ‘No … I have stage four pancreatic cancer.’ he told me.”
Ed said that he had two spots on his liver, two on his pancreas and one more on his spleen.
“Now, this is a guy that had physicals all the time,” George told Oswego County Today. “And all of a sudden they find stage four pancreatic cancer? The next day, he collapsed and was hospitalized. They really couldn’t do much for him at the point.”
Ed had lived in Sarasota for the past 16 years as a self-employed contractor. In early August, he began receiving chemotherapy treatments to reduce the size of his tumors. He had been unable to work since June 25.
“Ed was a very good contractor. He started doing it part-time up here while he was still a police officer,” Franco noted. “He would always be ready to help others. If someone needed some work done, he’d be there to help. That’s how his business started, helping others.”
“He was a most amazing guy,” Ed’s daughter, Brenda, told Oswego County Today. “He just couldn’t sit still. He loved helping people. He was a big a sports fan, including S.U. His oldest grandson is going there now.”
George describes his younger brother as “a fighter.”
“He wouldn’t want anybody to be crying over him,” he added. “He was more than just a brother to me, he was my best friend. We did a lot of things together.”
When George decided he wanted a career in radio, Ed mentored him.
“I’d practice and he’d advise me on what I was doing wrong and what was working,” George recalls. “He really helped me get my career going. We played together and we learned together.”
They moved to Altmar around 1950 or 1951, George said.
“When I went into the Navy, he wanted to join up, too. But he got rejected for flat feet, I think. He was very upset that he didn’t get in,” George said. “He helped my wife a lot while I was in Vietnam. He was like a brother to her.”
His son became a military policeman because of uncle’s influence, George noted.
“He was a heck of a third baseman,” George said of Ed. “We used to play in the old Oswego County Softball League back in the early 1970s. Then he played in the Fulton league as well after that.”
Ed also played for the department’s team.
“He enjoyed playing. We’d probably play 20 pick-up games also during the summer with anyone who wanted to play,” Franco said. “We’d go up to Canada and play up there some times. We did that for a few years.”
He was a devoted family man who thought the world of his kids and wife.
Ed recently got married.
Besides his wife, Jane, survivors include his children: Sean (Kerri) Hoffman, Brenda (Tom) Abelgore and Brandon Hoffman; five grandchildren, Nicholas, Alexia, Ethan Abelgore, Kiersten and Karoline Hoffman; two brothers, George (Yuki) and Steven (Kathy) Hoffman; two sisters, Gloria Hoffman and Helene (Mark) Riley; several nieces and nephews.
“It’s been a tough couple of days,” George admits. “Years ago, being the oldest, I promised my mother I’d take care of my brothers and sisters and wouldn’t let anything happen to them.”
In one of their last conversations, George said he told Ed that he had failed in his promise.
“He told me, ‘No you didn’t. You took good care of all of us. You did more than anyone could have asked,'” George recalls his brother telling him. “We still have our memories of him. A lot of good memories.”
A celebration of his life in Florida will follow after burial on Monday.
The day before the memorial service at Holy Trinity Parish, a fundraiser to help the family with expenses, an all-you-can-eat chicken and pasta dinner, will be held at Thunder Island Oasis, 21 Wilcox Road, Fulton, on Oct. 13 from 1 to 5 p.m.
Tickets are $10 per ticket (under 5 eat free). Advance sale tickets available at: Fulton Police Department, Thunder Island and B&T Sport Shop.
There will be door prizes, entertainment, raffles and a cash bar.
“It’s not ‘goodbye.’ He’s just gone for now,” Brenda said.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to Florida Cancer Research Institute 600 N. Cattelman Road, Suite 200 Sarasota, Fla., 34232. Locally, donations can be made to the Oct. 13 memorial service and anything leftover will be donated to the cancer research.