Some of My Grandfather’s Traits I want to Emulate

robert hoffer

I have been thinking a lot about my grandfather as the clock clicks towards Father’s Day. Here is a collection of his of his traits that I want to emulate:

I want to emulate my grandfather’s ability to not bring work home. I’d imagine that he did. No person in human history has not, to some extent, brought some of work’s challenges home. That said, my grandfather was always “on” with his grandchildren, and I don’t ever recall him being stressed about work (I’m sure my Aunt, Uncle, and Dad would have examples to the contrary). But my grandfather was present when it mattered to me, and the rest of the grandkids.

I want to emulate my grandfather’s energy to walk the floor at Hoffer Plastics and care for the people on our team. Yes, he pushed. The stories are legendary. But everyone knew he cared.

I want to emulate my grandfather’s love for my grandmother. He unapologetically left the office in time to be home for 5:30 p.m. dinner, and the company didn’t suffer for it. My last coherent conversation with him, December 24th 2006, he challenged me to bring my grandmother flowers while lying in his nursing home bed.

I want to emulate my grandfather’s love for plastics. His face would light up with the possibility around plastics. My cousin Betsy recalls Grandpa predicting the smartphone years before we were carrying one, and we can all recount his enthusiasm towards countless projects at “the plant.” I often get that same excitement today with our flexible packaging business because the future is so exciting.

I want to emulate my grandfather’s love of Purdue University. Because his father taught at Purdue, Grandpa grew up in West Lafayette. So, while I am appreciative of other schools (The University of Illinois and Miami of Ohio in particular), Purdue, for me, has always been home. And I miss it because being there reconnects me to my past.

I want to emulate Grandpa’s non-work hobbies. He worked his yard and garden relentlessly and meticulously. For many years he could be found with his running group. Not to mention that he played college golf at Purdue, and still played well into his 80s. And I would be remiss not to mention that I hope and pray that my kids get many of the same Elgin Country Club experiences with my dad as I had with Grandpa.

I want to emulate Grandpa’s generosity. Camp Edwards, various city of Elgin charities, Judson University (I miss the baseball team!), and his local church—he made time for these pursuits, and that deeply challenges me in this day and age of busyness.

Above all, I want to continue to emulate my grandfather’s devotion to his Creator and Savior. For in the end, I will go the way he went, and the point of this recollection is intentionally emulating someone worth following.

My grandfather was such.