For 60 years, Ray Hoffman has been a big part of the Granite City Park District.
“He’s been the president of the Granite City Umpires Association,” Granite City Park District Director Dave Williams said. “He officiated every game you could imagine. He knows a whole lot about what we do and how we do it.”
Hoffman will be a member of the park district board for at least another six years as he was re-elected for his third term as commissioner. On April 7, he won the Granite City park commissioner election with 2,265 votes. Mike McGovern was second in the voting with 2,093 votes and Freddie Layne finished third with 1,396.
Hoffman has been the park district commissioner for 12 years. He also worked as an umpire and supervised bowling and softball programs at the district.
“I did so many things at the park,” Hoffman said. “It’s part of my life.”
Hoffman, 81, began his long run with the district in 1955, when he won an umpiring job. That time, he was making $2.50 a game. Today, a park district umpire makes $20 a game.
“I was out at the park one day at softball practice,” Hoffman said. “Harold Brown, the director of parks and recreation, was there and he came up to me and said, ‘Ray, how would like to umpire?’ That’s how I got started.”
Hoffman worked as park district umpire for 52 years before retiring in 2008. He also was an umpire in world softball tournaments while working for the Air Force in 1955 and 1956. He also worked in ASA state tournaments.
Hoffman, who has lived in Granite City all of his life, is a member of the Granite City Sports Hall of Fame and the Illinois Softball Hall of Fame.
Hoffman is the commissioner of a park district that consists of 13 parks totaling more than 175 acres. A month ago, the Granite City Park District purchased a $97,000 Zamboni machine that will be used for hockey games at the Granite City Ice Rink this winter.