By: Heidi Paxson
English professor Marianna Hofer lost a short battle with cancer on Wednesday, May 3. Hofer was a passionate professor, colleague, and friend to many in the community. She taught various English courses throughout her time at the University of Findlay, where she worked for 32 years.
She received a bachelor’s degree in English from Kent State University, a master’s degree in English with a creative writing emphasis from Miami University and a Master of Fine Arts in poetry from Bowling Green State University.
As a poet, storyteller, and photographer, Hofer was very involved in the community and touched the lives of many.
Hofer’s students knew she loved Moby Dick and honored her on graduation day by placing whales on their graduation caps. The whales were given out by Sarah Stubbs, a recent UF graduate who admired Marianna and everything she did for her students. Stubbs says she looked up to Hofer and considered her a role model.
Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Ron Tulley, describes Hofer as iconic. He says in a day and age when it seems like nobody has time, she was always making time for her students. Tulley says that she would be in her office all year long, spending hours meeting with each of her students (many of whom were not English majors) getting to know them well as individuals. He describes her as a hard worker and emphasizes how much she loved her students and her job at the university.
Many of Hofer’s colleagues noticed how intuitive she was when she would first meet someone. Another known quality is how she had an eye for beauty in places where other people might not see anything significant such as abandoned buildings.
Tulley says that Marianna would photograph the inside of abandoned rooms and add colors to the scene, creating an entirely different image than what meets the eye.
In her English 104 classes, Hofer would occasionally take her students to small gardens that many people might not notice on campus. She would teach classes the importance of finding beauty in places that are often overlooked.
English Professor Dave Essinger, who worked closely with Hofer, says that she was a brilliant model for teaching and advising.
Essinger says that her recently completed poetry book, “The Weight of the Minolta in Her Hand,” is expected to come out this summer or fall.
“It’s too bad that she won’t be able to see that happen but we have people in charge of making sure that it does happen,” says Essinger.
Marianna was often seen at Main Street Deli, where her friends and family gathered in honor of her life on Saturday, May 13.