(Originally published in the GlobalSolutions.org blog on January 8, 2015)
As 2014 drew to a close, we said goodbye to a beloved global citizen. Walter F. Hoffmann, prominent civil rights attorney and tireless advocate for world peace, died at age 90 on Wednesday, December 31.
Passionate for UN reform, Walter was a member of World Peace Through Law, founder of the Campaign For UN Reform, the Center for UN Reform Education, and Executive Director of the World Federalist Association in Washington, DC. In 1993, he was appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives to serve on the Commission on Improving the Effectiveness of the United Nations.
Born in Newark, Walter grew up in Glen Ridge and spent most of his adult life in Wayne, NJ. Walter was an Eagle Scout, graduated from Glen Ridge High School in 1942, and served with the Marine Corp in the Pacific in World War II. He was stationed on Tinian Island as a member of the 18th Anti-Aircraft Battalion when the Enola Gay took off from Tinian for Hiroshima on August 6th, 1945.
Walter graduated from the University of Michigan in 1948 and the University of Chicago Law School in 1951, where he was an editor of the Law Review. He was a trial attorney for the National Labor Relations Board and a staff attorney for the US House Ways and Means subcommittee investigating the administration of the IRS. He then returned to New Jersey and was a founding partner of Hoffmann, Humphreys & Lafer, in Wayne.
As a civil rights attorney in the 1960s, he successfully challenged residential covenants in NJ communities that excluded homeowners based on race and religion.
Walter served as Adjunct College Professor at William Patterson and Ramapo Colleges, teaching courses in Government and Political science.
Walter met his first wife, the former Lois Anne Johnson at the University of Michigan. They married in 1948 and had a good and loving marriage for 52 years until Lois’s passing in 2000. He remarried in 2003 to Nancy Cecere and enjoyed their 12 years together traveling and living in Cedar Crest Village.
No one who met Walter will forget him, not his family, not his friends or office staff, or fellow travelers anywhere. He genuinely wanted to know people and what was important in their lives. His integrity, wise counsel and joy in his family will be missed.
He is survived by his wife Nancy, daughters, Anne Hoffmann, Laura Calixte, son, Charles Walter Hoffmann (Susan), three grandchildren: Sylvianne Mulholland (Michael), Raymond Walter and Gregory Hoffmann; and two great-grandchildren, Jackson Walter and Kellan Mullholland.