Thursday, October 6, 2016

Charley Hoefer

Charles Henry "Dutch" Hoefer
born Adolph Hoefer

September 16, 1921
Hanau, Germany

June 12, 1983
Sioux Falls, SD

1937-38 Newtown High School - New York (High School)
1939-40 Queens College (College)
1940-41 Queens College (College)
1941-42 Wilmington Bombers (ABL)
1941-42 Albany (NYSL)
1942-43 Camden/Brooklyn Indians (ABL)
1943-44 Wilmington Bombers (ABL)
1943-44 Wateford Pros (Independent)
1944-45 Boston Coast Guard (Military)
1945-46 Wilmington Bombers (ABL)
1945-46 Hartford (NEBL)
1946-47 Toronto Huskies (BAA)
1946-47 Boston Celtics (BAA)
1947-48 Saratoga Indians (NYSL)
1948-49 Trenton Tigers (ABL)
1948-49 Schenectady Packers (NYSL)
1949-50 Queens McDermott All-Stars (Independent)
1949-50 Long Island Bombers (Independent)

Hoefer has always been a mystery to me, and it's probably because his previously reported birthdate (July 12, 1917) is not correct. There is other information out there in sports encyclopedias that is not accurate either. Allow me to explain.

Hoefer attended Queens College. He joined the Wilmington Bombers in 1941-42 and helped lead them to the ABL championship. (A couple on discrepancies occur here. Other sources have him playing for the Washington franchise of the ABL here, but as the News Journal article from December 18, 1941 and Morning News from November 7, 1945 indicate, he was indeed with Wilmington those years. Also worth noting is that the Morning News article states Charley Hoefer was merely 19 when playing with the Bombers in 1941. This contradicts the 1917 birthdate (and begins to coincide with census records from the time. I will get to that). That's why I dismiss 1917 as the birth year. According to the article, he served in the South Pacific in the Coast Guard before returning to the Bombers.

So now going with this information above, I had new doors opened. First off, being he was born in Germany and supposedly named Adolph, I pretty much assumed that when he joined the Coast Guard, he went by Charles or Charley (his middle name is reported in many places to be Charles, and he is called Charley in the articles about his ABL days). The name Adolph could not have been a popular moniker in the service at that time. Searching through military records, I found a Charles Hoefer born in 1921. The branch was the Coast Guard, and he was released November 7, 1945, the same day Wilmington ran the article saying that Hoefer was returning to the team. Now this guy is buried in South Dakota, but was born in Germany, born to Hugo and Ann Metzler. The full name is Charles Henry Hoefer. It may sound like the wrong guy, but his SSN was issued in Connecticut, so his family was out east at some point. A quick search of the census records shows that there was an Adolph Hoefer in Queens in 1930 and 1940. Parents names? Yep. Hugo and Anne.

We got him.

Born in Hanau, Germany, in 1921, the Hoefer family immigrated to the United States in 1926, settling in Queens, New York. Hoefer went to high school at Newtown before enrolling at Queens College. He played basketball at Queens before playing professionally with team like the Wilmington Bombers of the American Basketball League. He served his country during World War 2 with the Coast Guard, and after his discharge, returned to the hardwood. He was a member of the Toronto Huskies, playing in the first BAA/NBA game on November 1, 1946. With the Toronto team faltering in that inaugual season, coaching changes lead to Hoefer being shipped off to the Celtics. After that season, he wound back east, playing in the American, Eastern and New York leagues. He retired from playing and started working with the Department of Agriculture, which eventually moved him to Minneapolis/St Paul in Minnesota. In 1969, he moved to South Dakota, where he lived until his death in 1983.

Charley and his wife, Beverly (d. 2008), had a son and a daughter.

News Journal (Wilmington, DE), December 18, 1941
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, November 31, 1939
Morning News (Wilmington, DE) November 7, 1945
Troy Record, December 20, 1946
Argus-Leader (Sioux Falls, SD), February 6, 1976


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