By Will Schick | [email protected]
Charles Hooff III, the principal owner and broker for Charles R. Hooff Realtors, died on Feb. 1 due to complications from COVID-19. He was 80.
A prominent figure in the Alexandria community, Hooff and his work and public service helped define the city both literally and figuratively.
A fixture in the local business community, Hooff helped develop the Torpedo Factory, which played a key role in transforming Alexandria’s formerly crumbling industrial waterfront into the accessible focal point it is today.
At Charles R. Hooff Realtors, Hooff was known to many as a modern “renaissance man.” Hooff had a wide range of interests that included farming, hunting, traveling, music, cooking and educating himself on history, law and politics.
“He was equally comfortable and capable hitching a baler to his tractor as he was debating the outcome of the Third Crusade,” Hooff’s daughter Maremi Andreozzi said on a recent Facebook post commemorating her father’s life.
Hooff was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on April 21, 1940. After he was born, his family moved to Alexandria, where Hooff spent his childhood. Hooff attended Episcopal High School be-fore continuing his studies at George Washington University School of Business in Washington D.C.
After graduating from GWU in 1965, Hooff was recruited to work for Air America, an airline owned and operated by the CIA to support covert operations in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. As part of his service with Air America, Hooff spent several years in Asia, and it was during this time that he met and fell in love with his wife, Gudrun.
Hooff and Gudrun married in Taiwan in 1967 and returned to the U.S. several years later, settling for a few years in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Hooff briefly worked for Piedmont Airlines before returning to Alexandria in 1971.
Once Hooff returned to Alexandria, he began to work with his father, Charles Hooff Jr., at Charles R. Hooff Realtors, becoming more involved in the local community in the process. In 1976, Hooff ran for City Council, and, despite losing, he remained civically active and engaged with issues in the city.
Hooff’s son, Churchill Hooff, described his father as someone who cared deeply about other people and never held a grudge because of a debate or argument.
“He could have a fierce, fierce debate with somebody one day and then the next day be back to business as usual,” Churchill Hooff said.
Hooff lived in the same house in Old Town for 13 years before moving to Lorton, Virginia in 1984, but he continued to be deeply engaged in community issues. Hooff was a member of many local and regional organizations, including The Jamestown Society; The Metropolitan Club; The Lifeguard Society of Mount Vernon; The Old Dominion Boat Club; The Fraternal Order of Eagles; The Society of Colonial Warriors and The Alexandria Businessmen’s Club.
He was also an active and loyal member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, where his family had been founding members in 1809. Hooff was known by all for his generosity, charity, and sincere friendship.
“Charlie was a traditional Episcopalian in the very best and deepest sense of the word,” Rev. Oran E. Warder, rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, said. “… He liked his religion early, quiet, simple and traditional. … Charlie’s faith was part of his very being and not necessarily some-thing that he talked about.”
According to Churchill Hooff, his father was also someone who had a wonderful sense of “dry humor.”
One such example of Hooff’s comedic wit was when he climbed out of a window during a local Alexandria housing committee meeting that had gone awry.
“He certainly lived by his own rules,” Churchill Hooff said.
Hooff is survived by his wife, Gudrun Hooff; four children and their spouses, Maremi Andreozzi (Phil), Churchill Hooff (Jenn), Janney Jay (Willy) and Carlie Casella (Dan); and 12 grand-children. He is preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Elizabeth Hooff.