Erwin Hoeft ’59
My parents emigrated from Germany in 1925, after that country’s disastrous inflation. My dad was a tool and die maker and my mother was a professional fashion seamstress. They had a tough time during the Depression, but they made sure my sister and I were not affected. I grew up near Wrigley Field in Chicago. Every Friday was Ladies Day, and my mother and aunt took me to see the Cubs. They got in free and I was in heaven.
The biggest impact of my life at Cornell was meeting my wife Beverly Barker Hoeft ’61. H. Jackson Brown’s “21 Suggestions for Success” starts with “Marry the right person. This one decision will determine 90 percent of your happiness or misery.” I’m so glad Bev chose me. Our daughter and son-in-law, Linda Hoeft Koltes ’92 and Troy Koltes ’91, also graduated from Cornell.
I took a wide variety of subjects at Cornell and have fond memories. English Professor Howard Lane had the ability to teach a class by just asking the right question. Speech Professor Walter Stromer, who was blind, could comment on your hand gestures. Also Herr Alan DuVal (German) held classes at his home; economics and business administration Professor Chet Rich and his analysis of the Mount Vernon businesses; and baseball coach Bill Pflasterer, who hoped I would make enough money to provide a scholarship for a good third baseman.
My senior thesis was “Computers and Their Use in Business.” I took no computer or technical courses at Cornell. I did not go directly into computers. However, the education I received helped me to continue to learn (I earned a master’s of business degree) and be flexible in adapting to an ever-changing world. I ended up in this field from a business, not technical, standpoint, and have worked all over the world in business systems for International Harvester and Navistar.
(By the way, Beverly proofread and typed the manuscript. We’ve lived in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas, for 15 years, and continue to help and love each other.)