Bob Hoff wasn’t just recognizable because of his name, which could be found around town on familiar red and white “Hoff & Leigh” signs that were reminders of the Colorado Springs commercial brokerage he co-founded.
Hoff also was well known for his friendliness, business integrity and especially for his love of life, which included skiing, horseback riding, mountain climbing and devotion to family.
Hoff, who retired 16 years ago after a long career in Colorado Springs commercial real estate, died Feb. 25 of natural causes. He was 88.
“Bob Hoff is probably the most honest and honorable person that I’ve ever met,” said Tim Leigh, the co-founder of their brokerage and a former city councilman. “Especially in business practice. Everybody loved him because they knew if he said something, you could take it to the bank.”
Hoff was born in Dayton, Ohio, attended the University of Dayton and lived in Ohio and Kentucky, according to an obituary notice. He had been a successful homebuilder but ran into problems because of an early 1980s economic downturn. He moved to Colorado to start over, said Dan Hoff, one of his sons.
Choosing between Colorado Springs and Fort Collins, Hoff and his family moved to the Springs because Dan played hockey and there were no youth hockey programs in Fort Collins. Hoff became involved in the sport locally, serving as a business manager for Dan’s high school team and coaching and supporting other youth hockey squads, Dan said.
In Colorado Springs, Hoff launched a commercial real estate business and quickly found success, his son said. That success resulted, in part, because of his personal integrity and friendly way of doing business.
“He had the most boisterous, deep laugh that people enjoyed being around,” Dan said. “It was infectious…He could connect with anyone.”
Leigh, who was in commercial real estate, said he was introduced to Hoff at a Denny’s restaurant on West Bijou Street — the same building that the Hoff & Leigh brokerage marketed when it was sold last year to a group that’s now turning it into a seafood restaurant.
Leigh said he had a chance to join Hoff in his business or go to work for a larger company. Leigh chose to come on board with Hoff after hearing that he was completing more commercial leases than anyone around.
In 1987, the pair founded their brokerage, which became one of the better known real estate companies in the Pikes Peak region. The company is now owned by Leigh’s daughter and her husband, Holly and RD Trinidad, and has offices in Denver, Castle Rock and Ohio. But it’s kept the well-known Hoff & Leigh name.
Despite their success, Leigh said Hoff never was much on accolades or touting his accomplishments in real estate.
“He literally had a desk drawer filled with awards and plaques and stuff,” Leigh said. “He just made fun of that.”
Dan described his father as “one of the least pretentious people you’d meet.”
What Hoff really enjoyed was living life to the fullest, whether that meant spending time with friends and family, being outdoors or even writing books, Leigh said. In 2005, Hoff co-wrote “The History of Health Care in the Pikes Peak Region.”
“Did the sky-diver bit,” Hoff said in an obituary notice he wrote. “Skied the big hills and the steep and deep in the back country, ran the Peak, climbed some mountains and rode a good horse.”
Hoff and his wife, Mona, lived in Arizona for several years after his 2003 retirement, Leigh said. Mona died in 2015, and Hoff moved back to Colorado Springs a few years ago.
In addition to Dan, Hoff is survived by his children Stephen, Lynda, Mary, Margaret, Barbara, Christopher, Susan and Laura, according to his obituary notice. Another son, Timothy, preceded him in death. Hoff also is survived by 11 grandchildren.
A celebration of Hoff’s life will be at 2 p.m. Sunday — St. Patrick’s Day — at The Pinery on the Hill, 775 W. Bijou St. in Colorado Springs. St. Patrick’s Day is a fitting time to recognize someone who enjoyed life, Leigh said.
“No flowers, no service,” Hoff wrote in his obituary. “Raise a parting glass for me.”