November 27, 2022
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Loran Hoffmann, known for active involvement in Dixon’s history and politics, dies at 75 – The Vacaville Reporter

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Loran Hoffmann — a longtime Dixon resident who was actively involved in the city’s service clubs, history and public affairs — died Oct. 11 after a five-month battle with stage 4 lung cancer. She was 75.

Whether through serving as president of Dixon Women’s Improvement Club, actively working to bring a museum dedicated to Dixon’s history to town (something that became a reality in 2021) or running for mayor in 2016, Hoffmann had a passion for the city she called home for 46 years.

“After moving to Dixon and living there since 1976, she really grew fond of the town,” her son, Scott, said.

Loran was born Aug. 17, 1947 in Sterling, Colorado to Bert and Lenna Landess, who would move often due to Bert’s job with Pacific Telephone. Loran ended up graduating from Natrona High School in Casper, Wyoming. She attended the University of Wyoming in Laramie for a year and a half before moving to San Francisco to become a switchboard operator.

It was there that Loran met Stephen Hoffmann, and they wed in Sept. 1969 after eight months of dating. That year, they moved to Stephen’s hometown of Vallejo where Loran worked as a mail clerk at Mare Island Naval Shipyard.

Because it was a military job and she was a civilian worker, her son Aaron said she had to take a test and ended up performing really well.

“She was either the highest score they’d had or in the top five highest scores they’d ever had taking that test,” he said.

Following Scott’s birth in 1971, Loran refocused her efforts to being a full-time mother. In 1976, the family ended up moving to Dixon after seven years of living in San Francisco and Vallejo.

“They wanted to be able to have the small-town life they didn’t have in bigger cities,” Scott said.

In 1982, Loran gained another full-time job at the University of California, Davis, where she began her career in the Cooperative Extension, particularly its 4H program.

“She worked her way up from administrative assistant in that program, all the way up to the director,” Scott said.

Following her retirement in 2005, Hoffmann volunteered as a docent at the Mondvai Center in Davis and continued her involvement in various Dixon organizations. When her sons were in school, she served on the PTA and was also at one time or another a member of Soroptimist International, Vaca Valley Garden Club and Women’s Improvement Club, where she had stints as treasurer, secretary, vice president and president. She also co-wrote the weekly Independent Voice column “Conversations” with fellow resident Shirley Humphrey, consisting of information on upcoming events and brief commentary on local and national issues.

One of Loran’s most notable endeavors was her work with the Dixon Historical Society, which she helped establish and served as treasurer and president. A project she was particularly passionate about was the establishment of a museum dedicated to Dixon’s history, something she had been helping raise funds for for more than 20 years.

Scott said his mother wanted to see Dixon’s history preserved. While other Solano County cities had their own history museums, Dixon did not.

“There was really no place that was doing that for the city,” he said. “She made herself available, volunteered and became quite involved.”

In June 2021, the museum finally opened at 125 West A St., the former site of Coast Ice House. It houses items ranging from vintage photographs to an old fire station bell to a full exhibit on the old Milk Farm Restaurant.

Scott said his mother was very proud to see the museum open and remained passionate about preserving Dixon’s history.

“Even when she was diagnosed with cancer back in May, she made it a point to sit at her desk and made sure all of the artifacts that she had in her house that hadn’t been sent to the museum were tagged and labeled and put in their proper place,” he said.

Another proud moment for Loran came when she decided to run for mayor in 2016. She was a frequent attendee at City Council meetings and was unhappy with the way the council at the time was operating.

“She didn’t like the direction the city was going in, as far as community outreach,” Scott said. “She didn’t agree with a lot of their fiscal decisions as well as some of the community-based decisions.”

Loran ran to try to unseat then-Mayor Jack Batchelor. She told The Reporter that year that her priorities included establishing a master plan to guide the city over the next 20 years, funding the Parkway Boulevard overpass and seeking a private developer for the old Pardi Market site rather than turning it into a public gathering space, which it eventually became. Ultimately, she lost the election to Thom Bogue.

Loran’s sons will also remember her personal side. Aaron said she was very involved in his and Scott’s hobbies.

“She would be at all her sports races,” he said.

There was one exception though.

“She wouldn’t be at our go kart races because it scared her,” Aaron said.

Scott also said she loved to travel, visiting such places as China, Europe, Russia, Australia and Hawaii, sometimes joining her sons and their families during their trips.

“We had the opportunity to vacation with her at least once a year,” he said. “I have great memories of those times.”

Aaron said he could always count on his mother to talk him through any problems he or anyone else was facing.

“She could always figure your problem and tell you the best route to go,” he said.

Scott said he would miss his mother’s “eternal optimism.”

Loran is survived by her sons, daughters-in-law Misty and Sarah, and grandchildren Haylee, Hannah, David and Trevor.

A celebration of life was held Saturday, and Tuesday’s City Council meeting was adjourned in her memory.

 



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