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Staff Report
4:16 pm CDT June 10, 2019

John Scott Hoff, a longtime Winnetka resident, died peacefully at him home in Lake Forest, while surrounded by loved ones, on May 23. Born on Jan. 2 1946 in Des Moines, Iowa to John Richard Hoff and Valetta Florence (Scott), he graduated from Drake University in 1967 with a degree in Business Administration. He was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity and was active in USAF R.O.T.C., commissioning as a 2/Lt. on June 5, 1967. His initial assignment was at Dyess AFB, Abilene, Texas where he also attended Hardin-Simmons University. He completed a Master’s Degree in Business Administration at Cal State-Fullerton in 1971. He did one year studying constitutional law at Oxford University in England in 1973 and earned his Juris Doctorate degree in 1975 from Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles. In July 1975 he married Shirley Jo Ward and they had two children, which they raised in Winnetka. Because of his love of flying and travel, he completed his FAA Private Pilot’s License in 1976 also earning his Instrument, Commercial and Flight Instructor ratings, and flew recreationally up until his passing. In 1976 he moved to Chicago, joining the firm of Lord, Bissell & Brook, working in aviation litigation. He formed his own law practice in 1981 and merged The Hoff Law Group with Cremer & Spina in 2016. He earned a second Master’s Degree of Military Science from AMU of Manassas, Va. in 1996. He retired as a Colonel in the Air Force, receiving the Legion of Merit in 1998 after 31 years of service, which included his assignment in the Pentagon. He became a licensed Illinois Real Estate Broker, CPCU & CCA in 1980. He taught as an Adjunct Professor of Aviation Law at John Marshall Law School for 20+ years. He loved participating in the Boy Scouts of America, with his son, and continued to serve as Asst. Scout Master with Troop 20, in Winnetka, for 24 years. He performed in the Winnetka Village Follies for 25+ years, entertaining audiences and co-stars with skits and his unique brand of humor. He was an avid collector of red sports cars, war books, pilot wings, military medals, coins, and anything aviation related. He is survived by his wife, Harriet (Ross), son John Baron (34), daughter Jennifer Jo (Douglas) (36), step-son Douglas, and five grandchildren. His Celebration of Life will be at the Winnetka Community House at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 16. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations be made to the USO of Illinois, in John’s honor, where he served on the B.O.D. for over 20 years (

John Phillips

John L. Phillips, 80, a New Trier graduate, died May 9, 2019 in Playa del Carman, Mexico.  A celebration of life service will be held at 11:00 am, Saturday, June 29 at Church of the Holy Comforter, 222 Kenilworth Ave, Kenilworth, Illinois, 60043. Phillips grew up in Wilmette and attended New Trier High School and went on to study Hotel and Restaurant Management at Michigan State University. After working his way up with the Palmer House, he found his way to Sheraton Hotels and became the International Sales Manager. Phillips returned to Wilmette to raise his family and was very active with the Wilmette Rotary and Church of the Holy Comforter, where he sang in the choir. In recent years, he spent most of his time living in Mexico, where he enjoyed a diverse ex-patriot community, warm weather and daily walks on the beach. He is survived by his wife of nearly 55 years, Mary Hedges Phillips: their three children, Dori Phillips and her husband Richard Hoska of Catonsville, MD, Marji Mick and her husband Randy of Aurora, CO and F. J. Phillips and his wife Carrie of Wilmette, along with his two grandson’s Everett and George. He was preceded in death by his parents Lewis and Dorothy Phillips.  Memorial donations can be made to The Church of the Holy Comforter Outreach Fund.

Have someone’s life you’d like to honor? Email Michael Wojtychiw at with information about a loved one who was part of the Winnetka/Northfield community.