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John F. Hoffman

March 7, 1925 ~ May 19, 2022 (age 97)


Joseph Frederick Hoffman, Phd, professor emeritus of Cellular and Molecular Physiology at the Yale University School of Medicine, died on May 19, 2022 at the age of 97 years, in his home in North Haven, CT. He had been ill for several weeks prior to his death. Joe was born on March 7, 1925 in Oklahoma City, OK, and had been a resident in the New Haven area since 1965. He had many longtime friends in the New Haven area and throughout the world.
Joe's survivors include his nephew, Richard E. Hoffman MD (Molly), of Denver, CO; his nieces, Patricia Ann McNichols of Milwaukee, WI, Jill E. Tiernan (Tom) of Dallas, TX, and Claudia Citkovitz (John Barnard) of Shutesbury, MA; his sister-in-law, Evgenia Citkowitz; and six great-nieces, as well as cousins and in-laws. He was predeceased by Elena Citkowitz MD, his wife of 41 years; and his two brothers, Edmund Hoffman and Henry Hoffman Jr.
Like his two older brothers, Joe was an Eagle Boy Scout. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1948 after earning both bachelor and master's degrees. Joe was then admitted to the Princeton University graduate school, where he attained a second master's degree (1951) and a doctoral degree in physiology (1952). After completing his studies, he joined the faculty of the Princeton University biology department. In 1957, he moved to Bethesda, MD, and worked for 8 years at the National Institutes of Health before moving to New Haven.
Joe's scientific interests were the physiology and structure of red blood cells and the transport of sodium and potassium across the red blood cell membrane. He was a full professor at Yale from 1974-2003 and served as the Chairman of the Yale Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology in 1967-68 and 1973-79. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1981 and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1984. In 1998, he was given the Yale Science and Engineering Association Award for the Advancement of Basic and Applied Science. Scientific symposia were held at Yale in his honor in 2004 and 2015. He was the editor of the journal, Annual Review of Physiology, from 1989 through 2005. He continued his work on the physiology of red blood cells even after his retirement in 2004 and published three papers for which he was the sole author at age 83, 91, and 94 years.
Joe loved golf throughout his entire life and played in many parts of the world with friends from New Haven, including the Yale Golf Team coach and professional, David Paterson. He was named an honorary member of the Yale Golf Course in the 1980s and was proud of having made four holes-in-one during his life, the most recent occurring at the New Haven Country Club in 2021 when he was 96 years old. Also among his non-scientific interests was the opera, which he attended in New York, Vienna, and numerous locations in the many countries he traveled to around the world.
The family is grateful to Joe's two physicians, Peter Herbert MD and Richard Kaufman MD, who supervised his care during his final illness and to the providers at LIFETIME Care At Home in Guilford, CT. Joe's remains were cremated, and as he requested, his ashes are buried at the foot of his father's grave in Dallas, TX. A private memorial service for friends and family will be scheduled in the early fall.

Published by The New Haven Register on Jun. 1, 2022.


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