Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 3-2017


Physician role models are as important for the seasoned practitioner as they are for the recent medical school graduate. To this end, the life and career of Charles "Carl" A. Hoffman, M.D. (Fig. 1), American Urological Association (AUA) President 1967-1968, are legion. Dr. Hoffman had humble origins in the southern Ohio industrial town of Ironton. Born in 1904, he lost both parents before the age of 10 years, and was taken in by relatives. To help support his extended family, he got an after-school job at a local pharmacy (Fig. 2a), running errands and delivering prescriptions. The sight of people suffering and in pain had a profound effect upon the young boy, who noticed the hope and anticipation in their faces when they received their medicines, and he wished he could do more to help them.

After graduating from pharmacy school at The Ohio State University in 1925, he applied for a loan from the First National Bank of Ironton to buy the pharmacy. The bank president was impressed with the young man's drive and intellect. These qualities were also noted by Ohio Congressman Tom Jenkins, who offered the young pharmacist a place in the freshman class at the United States Naval Academy. Knowing that this was a major life decision, he nevertheless politely turned down the congressman's offer, enrolled at Marshall College in nearby Huntington, West Virginia, and the at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, all the while commuting back to Ironton on weekends to supervise his pharmacy and to pay back h is loans.


This is the Feature Article of the 150th Anniversary of the West Virginia Medical Journal. The copy of record is at{"page":0,"issue_id":384008}

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