Verlyn Hofer’s latest book Ole: The Saga of a Norwegian Immigrant in America was released on December 22, 2017. Hofer, his wife Mary and grandson Jordan came down last week to donate a copy of the book to the Lennox Community Library.
Hofer has lived in Lennox most of his life, and the greater share of his waking moments seem to have been spent writing. Born into a newspaper family, he has pursued the publishing business all his adult life. Like most “printer’s kids” his work in the printing trade started at a very young age.
Born in Davis on June 6, 1925, Verlyn Hofer moved to Lennox in September of 1928 soon after his family — the Edward Hofers — had lost all their earthly possessions in a tornado. The Hofers took over the operation of the Lennox Independent at that time. Ed Hofer was 29 years old when he purchased the local paper. He served as editor and publisher for over 50 years with assistance from his wife, Cora, and son, Verlyn.
Verlyn began following in his father’s footsteps from the age of 12, when he started working in the family’s print shop. “Dad put me on the payroll for $1,” Verlyn recalls. He continued to help at the publication and print shop part time through high school. Wednesday was, and still is, the day the paper gets printed. As a high school senior, Verlyn took one day off from school each week,Wednesday, to help put the paper together.
“We worked like heck on Wednesdays to get the paper out,” he says. “Wednesday was always a big deal.”
After graduation, Hofer joined the Army, serving in France during World War II with the 62nd Armored Infantry Battalion of the 14th Armored Division in 1944 and 1945. He was among the veterans honored in the last several years by the grateful French government with the French Legion of Honor medal. Verlyn was also awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his service.
After his military service, Verlyn studied journalism at South Dakota State University and Augustana College. In 1948, he returned to work full time at the Independent as editor and co-publisher with his father, Ed. Hofer and his wife, Mary, were married in 1948, they had four children — Doug, Bill, Dave, and Becky.
Hofer worked with his father and earned a half-interest in the publication in 1962. He assumed complete control of the paper in 1983 and then sold it in 1992. He operated a printing business called Show Print, which specialized in carnival and circus poster printing. Hofer was president of South Dakota Newspaper Association in 1987-88,
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