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Hans Otto “Hank” Stoffel (1940-2024)

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the death of Hans Otto “Hank” Stoffel who was not only a dedicated member of the German-American Heritage Foundation, but also a recipient of the 2019 Distinguished German American of the Year Award.

Hans Otto Stoffel passed away at his home on June 5th, 2024. Hans was born January 25, 1940 in Patterson, New Jersey. His parents Otto and Martha Stoffel were born in Wuppertal, Germany.

When Hans was 17, he enlisted in the Air Force. After completing his service, he was hired by Trans World Airlines aka TWA. He was an engineer, a copilot, and finally flew as an international captain. He spent a total of 34 years in the cockpit flying for TWA.

Hans met the love of his life, Dora Koster in New York, and the meeting resulted in a 60-year marriage. Together they had two sons, Curt and Eric.

When Hans was in the Air Force, he was stationed in Frankfurt, Germany. He used his time overseas to connect with relatives who lived in Wuppertal, Germany. After retiring from flying, Hans began to research his German heritage, and eventually joined several German American organizations. Some of which were Excelsior German Center of Oakland, Gold Country German-American Club of Grass Valley, and the German-American Heritage Foundation in Washington D.C. where he served as a regional vice president for Northern California. Hans also spent many years at the Sacramento Turn Verein where he loved being a member of the library.

Hans was preceded in death by his sisters, Doris Ludvigsen and Ruth Bello. He is survived by his sisters, Nancy D’Arcy and Inge Sell, as well as several nephews, nieces, and cousins.

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