City mourns loss of WCOW GM, community leader
Sparta businessman and community leader William "Willie" Hoffman died unexpectedly at his home Wednesday.
The 57-year old Sparta native earned a bachelor’s degree from UW-Eau Claire and worked several years for Marriott Hotels before returning to Sparta in 2008, to take over as general manager at Sparta-Tomah Broadcasting (WCOW).
"It's one of the best decisions we ever made," said retired judge J David Rice, one of the station's owners and Hoffman's cousin. "He did an outstanding job of putting us on a solid business footing."
As general manager, Hoffman was instrumental in steering WCOW to five Country Music Association (CMA) and three Academy of Country Music (ACM) nominations. The Wisconsin Broadcasters Association named WCOW “Station of The Year” in 2015 and 2016, with Hoffman at the helm.
He also served on the 1st Community Credit Union's Board of Directors and was a long-serving member of the Sparta Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
In addition, he was part of the Mayo Clinic Health System's Foundation sub-committee responsible for the campaign to raise funds for the new emergency department at the Sparta facility.
Hoffman loved the outdoors, and was an avid skier, hunter and golfer. He could often be seen driving around town in his convertible, taking in the breeze. He enjoyed a life that was cut too short and he will be sadly missed.
He is survived by his wife, Suzanne, and three children, Matthew, Natalie and Shannon.
His funeral will be Wednesday, Aug. 7 at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Sparta. A full obituary can be found inside this edition.