Abram Hoffer - A Memorial Celebration

by Brian Schaefer
Source: HANS online

In honour of Abram Hoffer, a memorial celebration of his life was held in Victoria on the evening of September 23, 2009.

About two hundred people attended: former patients, colleagues, friends and family.  Steven Carter, a long time friend of Abram Hoffer and Executive Director of the International Schizophrenia Society served as Master of Ceremonies. Tributes to Abram was delivered in person by his son, Dr. John Hoffer and via video by his daughter Miriam Hoffer along with presentations by Angela Webster, the Executive Driector of the Lotte and John Hecht Memorial Foundation, Linda Webster and Ian Taggart, a married couple that met while patients of Dr Hoffer, Bruce Reid of the Vitamin Shop, Dr. Eric Paterson, an orthomolecular colleague and friend from Creston, B.C., and his long time friend and colleague Frances Fuller, the CEO of the Orthomolecular Vitamin Information Centre.

Following the formal tributes a variety of former patients stepped forward to extend their thanks for all that Abram had done for them - patients that not only recovered but went on to become tax payers - apparently Abram Hoffer felt that recovery was not really complete until a patient was once again paying taxes! A reception followed where people exchanged stories of their various interactions with Dr Hoffer.  It was here that I met Shirley, Dr Hoffer's personal trainer. She said that she met Abram eight years ago. He said at the time that he thought that he had about ten more productive years in him but needed to be sure that he would be able to get up and down the stairs to his office during that time and wondered if she would be able to help him with that. She thought she could and they have worked together ever since with Abram being the most motivated client she has had. She sometimes wondered whether Abram was getting as much out of their sessions as she was but she was very pleased that he was able to handle the stairs to his office right through to the end.

Everyone who met Dr. Hoffer came to know that he had a personal story to cover almost any health related topic that could arise. My favourite story was told during a lunch discussion of the role of hope in recovery - how a change in perspective can change the course of one's recovery.

Dr. Hoffer mentioned that when he was working in a hospital in New York a man suffering from stage 4 cancer was admitted for palliative care. The man was dying and everyone knew it. After a few days in hospital the man was visited by an old friend. The old friend mentioned that the dying man's wife couldn't wait any longer for his demise and had moved her new boy friend into their home.

The dying man reflected on this shocking news overnight. In the morning he got dressed, checked himself out of the hospital and went home. Upon arriving at his home he promptly threw his wife and her new boy friend out. With the house to himself he then turned his attention to disentangling himself from his wife. He gathered up her belongings and got them delivered to her. He went through all the various bits of paperwork to make sure that all facets of his life would be run by him and him alone - bills, taxes, etc., and set to divorcing his wife. With the paperwork in hand he returned to work - you need an income to run a home! A year later he had occasion to visit his doctor. He was cancer free!

Steven Carter, Frances Fuller and John Hoffer did a wonderful job of providing all of us with this celebration of Dr. Hoffer's life. Thanks to all of you. Abram will be sorely missed.
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