Friday, September 22, 2023

In Memoriam: Thomas Hoffmaster - A Friend To Fly Anglers And Fish

Thomas Stephen Hoffmaster, 86, of Marysville, Cumberland County, traveled to the heavenly trout streams on September 5, 2023. 

Tom was a man of many talents and interests. He was a master songbird carver, created silver and gemstone jewelry, made knives and was a wood craftsman, just to name a few. He was also an avid Penn State fan.

Tom was a retired PA Real Estate Broker and Certified Real Estate Appraiser. He was a former member of the Marysville Lions Club and founder of the Rye Township Lions Club. During his involvement with Lions International, he received the prestigious Melvin Jones Award.

Tom was a recognized and accomplished Fly Fisherman. His love of fishing and fly fishing spanned eight decades. 

He owned and operated a fishing and bait shop (The Fly Shop) on N Main Street by the Susquehanna River then expanded to the square in Marysville. 

He introduced packaged live bait in a refrigerated vending machine with 24-hour access to live bait. He opened The Fly Tier’s Bench, a wholesaler of flies and single pattern fly tying kits.

Tom is a past executive director of the PA Fly Fishing Museum Association (PFFMA). He was instrumental in securing a facility to house world famous PA Fly fishermen artifacts. 

A team upgraded the space prior to the initial museum’s grand opening on the grounds of Allenberry. The PFFMA relocated to a larger facility in Carlisle and allows for easier public access.

Tom’s love of fly fishing inspired him to be the founder of another organization, the Pennsylvania Fly Fishing Association (PFFA), which dedicates itself to education and opportunities for the youth as well as preservation and conservation. 

The PFFA offers a program for the Boy Scouts to earn a Fly Fishing Merit badge and the PFFA recently entered into a partnership with the Wildlife Leadership Academy (WLA) to create Youth Fly Fishing Educational Training for high school and college youth to experience fly fishing techniques, stream awareness and habitat conservation. He was excited about this coming to fruition.

Tom received awards from both the Fish and Boat Commission and the PA Federation of Sportsmen and Conservationists for his promotion of Fly Fishing and instructing the youth. He also received the prestigious honor from the Fly Fisherman’s Club of Harrisburg, receiving the ‘Order of the Hat’ award that is displayed in the PFFMA.

Tom hosted large fly fishing shows in Carlisle with many vendors. The PFFA and PFFMA have had a presence in many fly fishing shows in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. 

He organized several fly fishing trips to Slate Run in Pine Creek with his fly fishing friends. The camaraderie experienced on these trips was incredibly special to him.

Born in Harrisburg on June 5, 1937, he was the son of the late Thomas E. Hoffmaster and Marie Scellato Hoffmaster Smith; and preceded in death by his brother Timothy Hoffmaster (Donna), stepfather Raymond A. Smith, dear friend Peggy Morrison and his beloved dog Parker.

He is survived by his daughters Chris Augustine (Michael) and Lori Castle (Henry), son Steven T. Hoffmaster (Beth), grandsons Bryan Augustine and Jeffrey Augustine, granddaughter Nicole Hoffmaster (partner Austin), niece Holly Hoffmaster Bitner (Thomas), Aunt Etta ‘Billie’ Light, his dear friend Sherry Groff, ex-wife and friend Jan Adams (John), brother-in-law and friend Ernie Pace (Reba) and his beloved dog Winston. Tom is also survived by numerous cousins.

The family would like to extend their appreciation to the many healthcare professionals that provided care for Tom during his illness. 

We would also like to acknowledge the PFFA and PFFMA members for contributing to Tom’s vision and your invaluable friendships.

The family has entrusted care to Michael J Shalonis Funeral Home in Marysville. A private burial will take place at the Chestnut Grove Cemetery at the family’s convenience.

Family and friends are invited to celebrate Tom’s life, at an informal gathering held on September 25, 2023 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at Buhrig’s Gathering Place, 25 E Main St, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055 (parking in rear 43 E Strawberry Alley).

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Pennsylvania Fly Fishing Association (‘Donate’ button at bottom of the page) or PFFA P.O. Box175, Marysville, PA 17053. 

(Courtesy of John Arway, former Executive Director of the Fish & Boat Commission.)

[Posted: September 22, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

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