A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman

A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman

Many of us make it through life. Only some define it.
News story posted in General on 22 February 2014| 36 comments
audience: National Publication | last updated: 25 February 2014


This is a news story I never thought I would have to write. Marc Hoffman, my brother, Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of the Planned Giving Design Center, my business partner of thirty-one years and eight years my junior, passed away peacefully at his home in Midway, Utah on February 17th. His loving wife Tracy was by his side at all times to the point of exhaustion. It was just a little over five months ago that Marc was diagnosed with Neuroendocrine cancer and given the news that there was no known treatment and that he had only four to six months to live.

This is not news about planned giving. This is a tribute to a man who dedicated his life to understanding, teaching, and writing about all of the ways people can give through planned giving. As you will read, he was also a modern day renaissance man. He defined life.

By the time Marc was about age three I came to realize he had figured something out. He quickly became aware of just how far cutting up, having fun and a great smile could take a person in life. From the time of this photo in our kitchen everyone’s life would never be the same in the Hoffman household.

On through high school, baseball and many sports that caused our mom great angst. This is a little hill he climbed from the bottom to the top.

Immediately following high school he became one of the youngest licensed life insurance agents in the state of California at age eighteen.

From high school it was on to college and a degree in Finance & Property Management at California Polytechnic State University. While at Cal Poly he was the president of the ski club, started his own band playing in local clubs and worked as an EMT, assisting people in need.

His working life

Realizing the party was over and that he had to join the real world, he set out immediately in his career in planned giving. Starting in 1979 we worked together for a Los Angeles planned giving consulting firm assisting nonprofits by working with donors and their advisors. I was in the field meeting with donors and their advisors. He was in the back office cranking out illustrations and charitable deductions with a pad and calculator.

From there he went on to become one of the youngest planned giving officers as Director of Planned Giving at Hoag Memorial Hospital in Newport Beach, California. He co-founded PhilanthroTec with me in 1983. We worked with the Treasury as Marc read the tax code while I wrote computer code. He was the former Executive Vice President and COO of San Antonio Hospital Foundation in Upland, California, where he managed all foundation development programs; was a Senior Vice President with Lexington Capital Management, Inc., where he assisted in the development of the firm's charitable trust, foundation investment management, and administration divisions.

As for his contributions to the field he is a published author, has been a platform speaker at the then National Committee on Planned Giving and AFP National Conferences, and was a founding board member and past president of the Orange County and Inland Empire Planned Giving Roundtables. He was also a founding and faculty member of the American Institute for Philanthropic Studies' Certified Specialist in Planned Giving program at California State University Long Beach.

Our latest joint endeavor was the founding of the Planned Giving Design Center in 1998. From inception Marc has been its Editor-in-Chief providing news and content to educate all who had an interest in the field.

On to the Renaissance man

Marc never went at anything halfway. It was always full-bore.

Gourmet Chef

In his teens our mother was stricken with cancer. During her recovery Marc took over the household duties, which included the cooking. Not being satisfied with TV dinners and chicken pot pies he broke out the cookbooks and developed a lifelong passion for gourmet cooking. You never wanted to miss one of his incredible spreads.

Singer, Song Writer and Accomplished Guitarist 

Early on he learned to play the guitar. Many years ago we attended a hospital fundraiser in the San Fernando Valley outside Los Angeles where Marc played his guitar and sang to an audience of about three hundred. A man approached our table after dinner and asked Marc if he would be interested in an opportunity to go to Nashville. He thanked the man for the opportunity and told him that he became too nervous before he played and always wanted to throw up. The man said, “You’re not the only one son.” Marc then told the man that he really enjoyed his current profession in philanthropy and would have to pass. The man asked Marc to continue to consider his offer. Henry Mancini then turned and walked back to his friends.


I never knew what would come out of his mouth next. What was the next big advanture.

"See ya, I'm going on a two week fishing trip with Brett down into Mexican waters." Where he caught a two-hundred and forty pound yellowfin tuna.

"See ya, Pat and I are headed to Puerta Vallarta. But I'll have my laptop with me so I can do the PGDC news."

"Catch you later. I'm headed to Sturgis on my Harley with some friends. I've got my laptop."

About seven years ago I called Marc to see what he was up to. "Marc, what are you up to?" I asked. "Right now about ninety-five miles an hour in my Bimmer." He replied. "What! Where are you headed? You're not doing ninety-five in LA." I exclaimed. "I'm driving up to Park City." He gleefully stated. "Who do you know up there?" Was my next question. His answer, "Nobody, I'm checking it out. I think I'm going to move up there. But don't worry, I've got my laptop."


From his Facebook page, his caption reads "I have found the key to hitting the ball just as far as you get a little older. Play at higher altitude! — at Soldier Hollow Gold Course - Home of the 2012 USGA Publinks Championship and in my backyard!" At the top of his game his handicap was three.

Dog Lover

Marc had a love afair with his dog, Chip. When Chip passed away in 2010 Marc wrote, "In memory of my beloved Jack Russell "Terrorist" Chip who went to doggy heaven yesterday at the ripe old age of 16. There will never be another like him. He will be so missed. He would dive to the bottom of our 8.5 ft pool to fetch his kong toy and would stay down there until he found it!"

Chip also rode his Harley. Marc was along for the ride.

Ski Instructor

Marc loved to ski. He was involved in ski patrol wherever he lived. Combined with his EMT experience he safely brought many injured skiers down the mountain. For the last seven years he was a ski instructor at Park City Mountain Resort. In 2013 he was voted by the community as the number one instructor on the mountain.

"Let the skiing begin!!!!!!"

...and it did.

He would call me and talk about the joy on the faces of the children who had accomplished so much in a day through his instruction. His love and gift was teaching children.


A photographer. Loving to take photos of anything worthy of the memory. His favorite model, his wife Tracy.

Stalking wildlife near his home.

The end result his efforts of the stalk.


Wherever there was water, fresh or salt, Marc was either in it or on top of it in a boat with a rod in his hand.

"A nice toady boy Strawberry rainbow. They call them red trout here in Utah because you could mistake the filet for a red salmon. Very tasty! — at Strawberry Reservoir."

...and for the little ones. He always let them go to grow. "Doin' what i do! Yes, I let him go to grow up!"

Pilot and Humanitarian

Marc flew right seat with his friend Pat to fly twenty-five missions in three days into the country's ravaged backcountry. "Just got back from Haiti where we delivered over 35,000 lbs. of food and flew doctors in and out of remote areas of the country. They are a kind people who will need our help for a long time to come." 


Marc sent me a text a few months ago and simply said. "Hey, look at my painting." Using a grove of aspens close to home as his inspiration. I said "You've never painted anything in your life other than in kindergarden. Where did you learn this?" "YouTube." He said. Several people have wanted to buy it. It's just the way he was.

Loving Husband

Marc and Tracy were married October 12, 2013. In the short two and a half years Marc and Tracy knew each other Tracy told me they never said a single cross word to the other. 


Like all brothers, there is love, there is pride in their accomplishments and there are the times you want to smack 'em upside the head. It was at about this time that Marc decided to see how long my pet hampster could hang on as Marc turned up the speed on our dad's turntable. My hope for all is that their lives have been as enriched as my relationship with Marc.

Modern Day Renaissance Man

Marc's quote. "The two most interesting men in the world!"

Many of us make it through life. My younger brother defined it. He will be missed by the many whose lives he touched. I know that he would want us all to live our lives to the fullest.

For information on service arrangements click here. Tell us a little something about this incredible spirit on the guest book at the bottom of his obituary.

Add comment

Login or register to post comments


Re: A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman

Wow, I did not know Marc but I was doing research to identify a creative strategist using CRTs. I found Marc historical info and articles he authored then, unfortunately, I found that he had passed away in 2014. I really need an attorney or a seasoned charitable gifting consultant. 949 337 0267

Re: A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman

Thank you for sharing this remarkable tribute to Marc. As a leader in the field and a mentor to so many over the years Marc will be missed, however, his impact on so many others will never be forgotten.

Jeff Swanson

Re: A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman


I just now found his announcement. I am so sorry to hear of this loss. Thank you so much for all he and you have done for us all these many years.



Re: A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman

Thank you Phil.


Re: A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman

Hi Lee, hope you and Sherry are doing alright? What a beautiful tribute to Marc this is...thank you. I have passed it along to his friends in Chino. Marc and I had a couple of very nice conversations in his final days. Most people would take another 30 years to do as much as he did. We have some wonderful memories :)
Please give Terri and the kids my best...love, Sally

Re: A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman

I will Sally.Thank you very much. You're a wonderful person.

Re: A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman

Oh Lee, I forgot about the earthquake!!!... met Marc outside in our jammies with everyone else, trying to figure out whether or not to go back inside. Maybe I met you then too. He spoke highly of you too you know. And I know at least once he took one of my questions to you, saying "Lee will know".

Re: A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman

This is a sad shock to me. I remember Marc as intelligent, fun loving and passionate about planned giving and everything he did. I'm sure we'll all remember him that way. I appreciate the loving memories you've shared. I'm very sorry he left us so early.

Re: A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman


My heartfelt condolences. You and Marc had that rare combination of complimentary intellects and personalities, plus the bond of brotherhood. I know there is a hole in both your personal and professional lives.

I sent a note to Marc several weeks ago. It seems appropriate to post some of it here: Think of the number of students who have been able to advance their lives via scholarships funded by planned gifts that were completed due to the PGDC or Philanthrotec, or the number of physicians and scientists who have made great advances due to planned gifts, or the number of people who have found peace within their faith tradition, or the animals who continue to inhabit our fragile planet because their habitats were saved through a planned gift.

Marc's was indeed a life well lived, and everyone in the gift planning community (and far beyond) will miss him.


Re: A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman

Thank you Joe for your heart felt comment. You have been a dear friend to Marc and I for 26 years. And yes, we had complimentary capabilities. He from our mother and me from our dad. Luckily, enough of each rubbed of onto the other over the years so we can continue our mission of creating more planned gifts through the leverage of education.

Thanks again friend.

Re: A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman

Lee, thank you for sharing the many magnificent talents and passion for life. Marc was an amazing man. He has touched the lives of so many and been a brilliant mind in the planned giving community. So sorry for the loss of your brother, friend and partner.

Re: A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman

Leah, thank you for your kind words. Brother, friend and partner many times do not go together. We were very fortunate.

Re: A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman

I first met Marc through PGDC, and we would exchange comments and ideas. He was so fun to run things past, and always ready to help with a complex CRT calculation. Finally met him in person at a NCPG conference at Disneyland and it was wonderful to laugh with him in person. As he promised he brought his special Mexican secret ingredient and made a mean Margarita. Yes, it was obvious he lived life fully and well! He even learned some Hawaiian on line to make me smile when receiving an email. So sorry we have all lost such a special guy, but so happy he had those last few months with Tracy, he adored her. A warm aloha and RIP my friend.

Re: A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman

Hi Kathleen. I remember the conference well. Earthquake and all! What you missed out on was his great chipolte and his guacamole dip. I know you were good friends.

Re: A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman

Lee, thank you for giving those of us who only knew Marc from afar a glimpse into a life well-lived and of a man well-loved. Your tribute describes a man of many diverse talents, great passion and compassioni. I am so sorry for your loss and the loss of the entier planned giving community and beyond. What a special human being!

Re: A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman

Yes, great passion and compassion. If you've read Johnathon Livingston Seagull then you new Marc. Fly higher and strive to go above the norm. Thank you Claudia.

Re: A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman

Lee, thank you for sharing the story of Marc's amazing life. What a legacy he leaves behind....but his legacy really started at age 3 with that smile, didn't it? I feel enriched for having read your beautiful eulogy and will open my eyes wider, now, to SEE what's around me, as Marc did. He really saw, didn't he? A lesson all can learn. A big L'chaim! to Marc now in the greatest pond/or ski mountain imaginable!

Re: A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman

Yes, it started at 3 with that smile. In all of the photos I reviewed to write his story I could not find one without a smile. And yes, "to SEE what's around me, as Marc did." His celebration of life last Thursday was incredible and many people approached me with stories of how his friendship allowed them to open their eyes to life as well.

Re: A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman

Lee, I am shocked and deeply saddened by Marc's sudden passing. I pray that the pain we all now feel will soon turn to a thankfulness for the time we had to enjoy Marc's fellowship and teaching thru the years.

Re: A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman

Steve, as for the time we all had with him you need to know that last month when I was visiting he told me that he had nothing left on his bucket list. Not many people years his senior can say that. He knew no stranger and he taught and wrote passionately to pass his knowledge on so more planned gifts could be achieved.

Re: A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman

What a waste. What a beautiful life. What a wonderful tribute as only a best friend can do. It hit home. From the flying background to the ski patrol life and the looking for more distance on the course for just one more long drive. He hit ther jackpot with that beautiful lady. Would have been some treat to have had a day of ski/golf with you and his friends. Appears his talent and potential knew no limits.
A wonderful tribute.

Re: A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman

Richard, thank you for the kind words. Yes, he hit the jackpot with Tracy. She is an incredible woman. As for golfing with him??? He has been known to hit a driver 350 yards at sea level. Last week one of his friends told me there were days when Marc's putting seemed to be on rails, so you would have been taking your chances on that one. Thanks again.

Re: A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman

What a truly amazing man. My heartfelt condolences to all who knew him. Shari Jenkins Schmit

Re: A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman

Shari, thank you for your kind words. Many told me Park City would just not be the same.

Re: A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman


Your love for Marc shows brilliantly in this post. I only learned a few minutes ago of Marc's past several months. The tears are still streaming as I write this. Thank you for both sharing the sadness, and leading this celebration of Marc's life.

My very best,

Re: A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman

Hello Greg. I thought long and hard about placing this on the PGDC. But it just did not seem appropriate to not let those who have read his content on the PGDC for sixteen years this month know the man behind the words. As for your tears streaming, my words came easy, my task was not. I understand.

Re: A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman

Lee: So sorry to hear of your loss. I still remember meeting you two at the annual PPP meeting where you first launched PGDC. How far you two have come since then. Here is hoping for all the best for the future of PGDC in your capable hands. Peace brother!

Re: A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman

Hi Joe, I remember the day we met as well. It was exciting. Marc and I had time to plan the PGDC's future...and beyond! As you well know Joe, our mission with the PGDC was to educate advisors in charitable planning while providing them with on-the-ground support through our local PGDC hosting organizations. As Doug Freeman told Marc many years ago, "As advisors, we don't recommend things we don't understand." Present company accepted, I think we have a little ways to go on that one. Thanks Joe.

Re: A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman

Sadly, I, too lost my younger brother to brain cancer almost 5 years ago. Our family was fortunate because the skilled medical team at Duke and his hometown in Greenville, SC was able to treat him and extend his life almost 3 years.

I was not personally aware more specifically of Marc's talents and his role in the philanthropic field; however, I have learned a great deal from my membership as a regular reader and student of pgdc.

Wishing you and your family the best and hoping the many memories and experiences will sustain you for all times.

Re: A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman

Phillip, I'm truly sorry for the loss of your brother. I was fortunate to have five months with Marc rather that a call in the night. When my daughter reads your post she will yell "Go Blue Devils" with glee. She is a Duke fanatic. It is a great institution. As for his role, he often liked to say that he was the man behind the curtain pulling the levers, borrowed from the Wizard of Oz.

Re: A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman

Such a loving tribute to your brother. Please accept my condolences.


Re: A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman

Thomas, thank you for your condolences. Words come easy when they are felt.

Re: A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman

That is such a moving tribute, and I'm sorry for your loss. With every day that goes by, I think I value the positive people more than anything, and your brother met that description so aptly.

Re: A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman

Michelle, I could not agree with you more! We were taught by our parents to optimists. The alternative is no fun. Life is too short.

Re: A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman

I am so, so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful, loving tribute. There is no doubt Marc will live on in the memories of those who, like you, knew and loved him.

Re: A Tribute to Marc D. Hoffman

Thank you Claire. I believe that as well. The more we touch people in a loving way, the more we leave behind.

Group details



This group offers an RSS feed.
7520 Rates:  July 3.4%  June 3.4%  May 3.2%

Already a member?

Learn, Share, Gain Insight, Connect, Advance

Join Today For Free!

Join the PGDC community and…

  • Learn through thousands of pages of content, newsletters and forums
  • Share by commenting on and rating content, answering questions in the forums, and writing
  • Gain insight into other disciplines in the field
  • Connect – Interact – Grow
  • Opt-in to Include your profile in our searchable national directory. By default, your identity is protected

…Market yourself to a growing industry