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Hundreds celebrate Emilio Hoffman's life at Sunday's funeral

Loved ones remember the 14-year-old Reynolds freshman as a fun-loving, fashion-savvy soccer player


by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: CARI HACHMANN - Hundreds gathered for Emilio Hoffman's funeral Sunday afternoon inside Good Shepherd Community Church in Boring.

To highlight Emilio Hoffman's signature style and love of fashion, hundreds of people filed into his funeral service Sunday afternoon sporting red Converse shoes.

More than 350 people celebrated Hoffman’s life at Good Shepherd Community Church in Boring, less than two weeks after his untimely death.

The 14-year-old Reynolds High freshman was shot and killed Tuesday, June 10, in the gymnasium building of his school. But those gathered Sunday wanted to focus on all the life he brought to the world.

“Some of us know Emilio and some do not, but we need each other,” said Pastor Steve Keels, who officiated the service. “We have to walk toward each other. This is an event that has in many ways rocked all of us in on way or another.”

Emilio Luis Hoffman was born July 15, 1999, in Portland to Jennifer Hoffman and Abraham Gallardo, the oldest of five children.

From an early age, Hoffman had a magnetic presence, a contagious sense of fun and an eye for brand-name clothes.

Hoffman attended Kelly Creek Elementary School from first through third grade, where he played T-ball and flag football. Soccer became his real love, a sport that took his family on a busy, year-round journey.

To help channel Hoffman’s rambunctious energy into academics, his family moved the boy to Arthur Academy, a smaller school, for fourth through sixth grade.

Each year, teacher Jesse Slick pays students fake money for jobs around the classroom. Students then “pay rent” for their desks. “The crafty ones buy other students’ desks and have them pay rent, but most kids don’t bring in their own fake money from home,” Slick joked, describing Hoffman’s strategy.

“Emilio had this particular swagger,” said Slick. “You could spot it from a distance. He loved to laugh and smile all the time."

Slick became Hoffman’s mentor that year, coming to know the boy as competitive, hilarious and personable.

After Hoffman left Arthur Academy, Slick began a Star Student award. On Sunday, he presented the posthumous award to Jennifer, his mother, in Emilio’s memory.

He also presented Jennifer Hoffman with an official Portland Timbers jersey with Emilio’s name and soccer number, 29.

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: CARI HACHMANN - Three friends, Kyra Moriarty, Erika Lively and Emily Hayes, sang 'Dancing in the Sky' in tribute to Emilio Hoffman.

Hoffman went on to Walt Morey Middle School for seventh and eighth grade before arriving at Reynolds High School and joining the school’s “soccer family.”

He was also a member of the club team, Crystal, a team that coach Arnaldo Soriano said always loved Emilio, even when he got into mischief.

His social nature sometimes distracted Hoffman from academics — his lingual family was perplexed when he was flunking Spanish — but it was also one of his beloved characteristics.

He excelled at building computers, he loved coaching soccer for his younger twin brothers and he shared his silly personality on social media profiles such as Twitter, SnapChat and Facebook.

This summer, Hoffman had planned to coach his twin brothers in soccer, obtain his driver’s permit and volunteer for Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center.

His girlfriend, Alyssa Karm, recalled all the little things Hoffman did that made people adore him. She remembered hanging out on his trampoline and watching “The Fault in our Story,” a love story that made Hoffman cry, she said.

“In the end, I finally got you,” Karm said. “You were my first kiss, my first boyfriend and my first love. I was your last kiss, your last girlfriend and your last love, and nothing can change that."

Jennifer Hoffman told attendees it had always been her job to help Emilio write papers, but now she needed his help to write hers. She said she had no words, outlines or organization in the wake of her son’s death.

“The day you were born was the true beginning of me,” she said. “It was who I was supposed to be — I needed to be your mom.”

Hoffman said her son was taken from her, but no one could take away her crazy, immeasurable love for him.

“I can stand here and go on for many hours about all the things we will miss,” Jennifer Hoffman said. “Your unconditional love, contagious laughter and compassion for life are among the greatest of them all. I will cherish your music, sense of style, sense of humor and selfies.

“My memories are so alive,” she said. “Your family, friends, teammates, coaches, teachers and community all suffer through this time. Please don’t worry about them — I promise to hug them tight and check on them often."

Reynolds science teacher Deithra Archie told students the tragedy did not define their class or Reynolds High, challenging them to "live, have fun, take care of each other. To "push each other, encourage each other and be there for each other."

Hoffman used to induce giggles in Archie and ask if she had missed him over the weekend, and she would joke that she hadn't.

"Emilio Hoffman, I will miss you," Archie said.

Keels prayed for the students, teachers and parents gathered for the funeral, and Troutdale Police Chief Scott Anderson concluded the service with Psalm 23 from The Bible.

“Rest in paradise, my sweetness,” said Jennifer Hoffman.

“Fly with the angels, my boy… P.S. We all got some new red Chucks.”

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: CARI HACHMANN - Emilio's mother, Jennifer Hoffman, is embraced by her son's sixth-grade teacher at Arthur Academy, Jesse Slick. Slick presented Hoffman a Timbers jersey in memory of Emilio, who wore No. 29.

Remembrances may be paid to Hoffman by visiting batemancarrollfunerals.com.