Daniel Sean Hoffay Dies; Was a Fisherman, Artist

Daniel “Danny” Sean Hoffay


Surrounded by family, Daniel “Danny” Sean Hoffay passed away peacefully on May 19, 2022, at the Pete Moore Hospice House in Eugene, Oregon.

He is remembered by family and friends from both the east and west coasts.

Danny was born March 21, 1966, to Georgia Hoffay at the Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He was born while on a journey with his mother from New York to California, where he spent his toddler years with his sister Ilona Mayo and stepfather Michael Mayo.

Georgia, Danny, and Ilona would later return to upstate New York where they lived for several years He attended grade school and Saugerties High School there.

Danny began commercial fishing on the F/V Helen every summer from the time he was 9, with his father Michael Mayo, and his younger sister Ilona Mayo, in Juneau. As years passed, the family began to grow and so did the family’s fishing crew. They continued their fishing ventures as a family aboard the F/V Oceanus and later the F/V Coral Lee. Danny enjoyed his summer adventures longlining in Alaska so much he decided to make Sitka his permanent home in 1983, when he was 17.

Unfortunately, an injury that had debilitating and prolonged effects on his body forced Danny to retire from longlining in 2000. But he always returned to the docked vessel to lend a  hand to his dad and brothers whenever it was needed. His filleting techniques and famous knots are a continued tradition aboard the Coral Lee today.

Danny will always be remembered for his extraordinary artistic talents and abilities. In the off-season from longlining and after his retirement, he used his free time refining his artistic skills. His steady hand filleting a fish and creating some form of art is what attracted his wife of nine years, Sonya Davis Hoffay, in 1986. In October 1987 Danny and Sonya started a family, and they were officially married in 1988.

It would be Sonya’s culture, and the culture of his children, that became the catalyst of Danny’s love for Tlingit artwork. With his unique style of using Tlingit form line and Celtic design, his art pieces were a combination of his traditions and the traditions of his wife and children. In essence, he described his inspiration begot by the love of his children. 

Danny was gifted in every kind of art he could lay his hands on – free-hand drawing, painting, carving, engraving, graphic design, and music. He was so enthralled in creating something beautiful he later obtained an associate degree in graphic design from the Art Institutes in 2003. He taught himself how to play several instruments, but most notably the guitar. Danny would often fill the silent Sitka nights playing his guitar to/with his family and friends.

When he wasn’t enveloped in his artwork, Danny loved a good debate with a well-armed opponent. His friends and family also will remember him for his overzealous engagements in political, philosophical, religious and theoretical dialogue on Facebook and in the Backstreet House, sharing his coffee with anyone brave enough to drink it. 

In 2008 Danny decided to move to Oregon. He lived in Eugene for four years, and then in 2012 moved to Cottage Grove. In addition to strengthening his artistic abilities and drinking his coffee beans with a splash of water, Danny enjoyed gardening. Those who knew him well knew he had an exceptional green thumb, and began growing his own fruits and vegetables.

 Danny also built his Oregon life around caring for others. In 2016, he became a Home Health Aide and cared for those who couldn’t care for themselves. He developed friendships with many of his clients while assisting them with their daily living. Caring for others was another skill he learned, and it motivated him to become a licensed Certified Nursing Assistant. He worked at the Avamere Long-Term Care Center in Eugene, Oregon.  

Danny is survived by his children, Charlene, Ruth, Brendan, Sean, Georgia and Emily Hoffay; step-parents Michael and Sherie Mayo; sisters Ilona Mayo, Coral Crenna and Song Mayo; brothers Jeb Morrow, Ocean Mayo, and Cedar Mayo; and grandchildren Roland Lowe, August Lethlean-Hoffay, Gregory Hoffay-Felix, and Solaris Lucida Marie Hoffay. 

Also surviving are his nieces, Kara Davidson, Mira Mayo-Davidson, Autumn Mayo, Lily Mayo, Willow Morrow, Hanna Morrow, Daisy Morrow and Dominique Crenna; and nephews Jake Davidson, Ryan Davidson, Bo Mayo and, Banyan Mayo

Danny was preceded in death by his mother, Georgia Mayo-Hoffay; his son Christopher Michael Nye Hoffay; and  brothers Noah and August Mayo.

Services for Danny are to be determined.

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