Dr. William Hoffman, a longtime physician and former director of internal medicine at Southside Hospital, died May 5 of cardiopulmonary illness at his Bay Shore home.

Hoffman, whom colleagues and patients said they respected for taking meticulous notes, was 87.

Hoffman was born in 1927 in Rockville Centre and graduated from Oceanside Senior High School before joining the Army, from which he was honorably discharged in 1946.

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Hoffman was first drawn to medicine while attending Union College in Schenectady, where he earned a bachelor of science in 1949, his son Peter Hoffman said.

He studied internal medicine at Albany Medical College and graduated in 1953. He opened his private practice in Bay Shore in 1958, and was one of the founding physicians at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip when it opened in 1959.

Peter Hoffman, of Brightwaters, described his father as the "consummate professional physician" who always followed the rules and never had to choose between right and wrong.

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"Right came naturally to him," Peter Hoffman said. "His advice was on point; spelling, impeccable; history knowledge, deep; and as a role model, he was perfect."

Hoffman said his father was known in the medical community for keeping precise notes on every patient, and using those notes to provide accurate diagnoses.

"His charts were the history of medicine, and how medicine changed over the 30 or so years that he practiced," said Dr. Alan Seymour, who took over Hoffman's practice in 1990 and treated him. "You could see how patients would come in 1959 with angina and he would do things. And over time, you would see him change the therapies and keep up with the times . . . He was a great physician."


Hoffman worked at Southside Hospital as director of the Department of Internal Medicine from 1983 to 1988. When he left his private practice in 1990, he worked as staff physician for the Executive Health Group in Manhattan from 1991 to 1997, and guest lectured at Touro School of Health Sciences.

In addition to son Peter, survivors include his wife of nearly 60 years, Anna Jane Strine of Bay Shore; son Eric of Seoul, South Korea; brother James, of Travelers Rest, South Carolina; and six grandchildren.

Hoffman was buried at Pinelawn Memorial Park alongside his daughter, Deborah, who died in 1975.

Hoffman's family asks that donations be made to the Southside Hospital Development Office, 301 E. Main St., Bay Shore NY 11706.