Paul Joseph Hoffman is a journalist and author who was born in Madison, Wisconsin.
He was raised in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee. He is a 1981 graduate of Wauwatosa East High School and attended both the University of Wisconsin – Madison and the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, graduating from Milwaukee with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications (Radio/TV sequence) and a minor in English.
He is a career journalist, working as a sports writer at the Milwaukee Sentinel; assistant sports editor at Pioneer Press, a chain of weekly newspapers in suburban Chicago; sports editor and news editor at The Shelbyville News in Shelbyville, Indiana; news editor at The Republic in Columbus, Indiana; and his current position, special publications editor at the Daily Journal in Franklin, Indiana, since 2001.
His first book, “Murder in Wauwatosa: The Mysterious Death of Buddy Schumacher,” was published by The History Press in 2012. It is the true story of the disappearance of an 8-year-old boy in 1925.
He lives in Columbus, Indiana with his wife, Kimberly, and has a son, three daughters, two stepdaughters, and one granddaughter.
Book Summary (provided by Paul J. Hoffman)
August 2015 marked the 90th anniversary of one of the few unsolved murders committed in the Milwaukee suburb of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, the killing of 8-year-old Arthur “Buddy” Schumacher Jr., son of a pharmaceutical supply salesman and grandson of one of the city’s key leaders in the early 20th century.
He was reportedly last seen by three friends after they hopped off a freight they’d hopped on to get a ride to a nearby swimming hole.
For seven weeks, the community and state searched desperately to find the boy before his body was found just a mile from his house with his clothing torn and a handkerchief shoved down his throat. It wasn’t long before police had what they thought was a sure case against a man who was living in a hobo camp near where the boy went missing. However, they were forced to let him go after witnesses changed their minds about key pieces of evidence against him.
A man who was serving a life sentence in Minnesota for the killing of a young boy there, later confessed to killing Buddy Schumacher. But police wavered in whether to believe him or not.
Nobody has ever stood trial for killing Buddy Schumacher.
My book, “Murder in Wauwatosa: The Mysterious Death of Buddy Schumacher,” that was published by The History Press in June 2012, discusses the reasons nobody was ever charged with the crime, as well as going into the background of main suspects, the Schumacher family and other key people involved in the investigation.
But it is much more than just a book about a murder. The book also hits subjects that touched this story, such as the state of mental health care during that time, homelessness, Prohibition and the forensic tools investigators had available to them. The book also shines a light on the good that came out of this tragedy and also raises several questions that have never been answered.
My Interview with Paul J. Hoffman
KYRIAN: Paul, why should people read this book?
PAUL: The themes presented in this book transcend time and place. The book discusses how a family attempts to deal with tragedy; how a small community is affected by the socio-economic trends that surround it; how to keep young children safe; what to do with the mentally challenged; and how some bit of good can eventually come from such a
KYRIAN: What are you working on at the moment?
PAUL: I am in the beginning stages of writing a screenplay based on “Murder in Wauwatosa.” Progress has slowed due to things that have come up in life. I hadn’t really considered writing more true crime books; I wrote this one because I had to … the incident had been bouncing around in the back of my brain for 35 years or so, and it had to come out. But I’ve recently been asked if I would write a book about true crimes in the area where I live, so I may take that offer. I would also like to publish a book of poetry since I started writing some of that again recently.
KYRIAN: What actor/actresses would you like to star in a movie based on the book?
PAUL: I always envisioned John Cusack playing the role of the father whose boy was murdered. He seems to have the type of personality that would carry over to that character and I have always admired his work. I hadn’t really thought too much about the rest of the cast. I also have the highest regard for Shawn Franklin, an actor I’ve seen in many local plays. He has the right skill set to play Art Schumacher, too.
KYRIAN: What are your ambitions for your writing career?
PAUL: I take this career a step at a time since it’s my secondary career for now. I make plans, but sometimes those plans get sidetracked, so I make new plans. Who knows what will eventually happen. I’ve been working as a journalist for the past 30 years, the past 15 as the editor of several specialty magazines, and I am not ready to give up the steady income.
KYRIAN: Which writers inspire you?
PAUL: Most of the writers who inspire me are those I personally know. Understanding their backgrounds and some of their daily struggles and triumphs makes their work even more special to me. Some of them are journalists, some authors, some poets. Among them are Dale Hofmann, Michael John Sullivan, Bobby Tanzilo, Ron Collins, Wendy Stenzel Oleston, and Matthew D. Jackson.
I enjoy reading various genres, and I pick up whatever interests me at a particular moment. So, there are not a lot of authors whose works I have really studied a lot. I also read the Dilbert comic strip every day. I must experience humor at least once every 24 hours.
KYRIAN: What is your biggest regret and why?
PAUL: I suppose there are many things I wished I had done differently in life. But if I really go back and study those poor decisions, I recall the circumstances that led up to them and the lessons I learned from them. Doing that gives me a better understanding of how I can help people going through similar circumstances make better choices than I did. Sometimes, even when you make the best decision possible, people can get hurt; that can’t be helped. It’s when you make a poor decision, and someone gets hurt because of it, that really stings.
KYRIAN: What is your greatest fear?
PAUL: That I haven’t made it clear enough to my children what I stand for. I’ve tried to let actions speak louder than words. But sometimes, you don’t run into situations where your children will see you model what is in your heart. There are times we need to tell them what we believe in, how we feel about certain things. They will at some point make up their own minds about all that surrounds them, but I think they need to know where their parents stand on a lot of issues, especially as they get older.
KYRIAN: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?
PAUL: Of all the places I have never been that I want to see, Hawaii tops the list. I love visiting my home state of Wisconsin, and anywhere my wife is works, too.
KYRIAN: Who are your heroes in life?
PAUL: My father, Ray Hoffman, has been someone whose unstated goal seems to have been “be a better person today than you were yesterday.” I can’t think of a better compliment to pay anyone than this. A former boss of mine, Bill Windler, taught me a lot about respecting everyone around me as well as several other life lessons. I also respect those who give of themselves and expect nothing in return.
KYRIAN: Tell me about your proudest achievement and why it was so gratifying?
PAUL: I am never prouder than when my children make good choices, put their all into accomplishing something worthwhile and are honest about their mistakes. I like to think I have had at least a little to do with them demonstrating those qualities, for the most part (nobody is perfect). A lot of people have told me that I’ve been a good father, although I’m fairly hard on myself and see a lot of instances where I could have done better. To have people tell you how kind, respectful and well-behaved your children are … there is no better“achievement” in the world.
Connect with Paul on social media:
On this month’s Heart-to-Heart with Kyrian radio show, my guests, Michael John Sullivan and Kathleen Nash shared their experience of having been homeless. They also talked about their recovery and their advocacy for the homeless. They have wonderful messages for everyone struggling and anyone who cares about the struggles of others. You can listen in on this podcast.
Kathleen Nash is a uniquely creative individual. Photography and other forms of artwork are her passions. She also builds websites and works with her son, Dennis, who creates beautiful wire wrap jewelry.
Kathleen shares more about her journey in this blog:
Learn more about Kathleen and her work:
Michael John Sullivan is the author of Necessary Heartbreak: A Novel of Faith and Forgiveness (Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster). Library Journal named Necessary Heartbreak one of the year’s best in Christian fiction for 2010. His second novel, Everybody’s Daughter (The Story Plant), was named one of the best books of 2012 by The Examiner. Michael published his third novel, The Greatest Gift (The Story Plant), in October of 2014. He is currently working on his next novel, The Second World. He is also the creator of the SockKids children’s series. Visit thesockkids.com to learn more. A former board member of the Long Island Coalition of the Homeless, Sullivan has written several articles about the plight of the homeless that have been published online by CNN, the Washington Post, Beliefnet.com, the Huffington Post, and Patch.com.
Michael has contributed a blog relevant to our topic today, along with a link to an article he wrote for CNN a few years ago. You may read it here:
You can learn more about Michael and his books at Michael John Sullivan Author.
“Compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind.” – Albert Schweitzer
© Copyright December 15, 2014 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted without permission.
The above podcast is from ‘Heart-to-Heart with Kyrian’ on Blog Talk Radio.
Michael John Sullivan is the author of Necessary Heartbreak, a novel published by Simon & Schuster, the sequel to Necessary Heartbreak, Everybody’s Daughter, published by The Story Plant, and the final book of this trilogy, The Greatest Gift published by The Story Plant. The Greatest Gift will be available in October of 2014. Michael is currently working on his next novel, The Second World. He is the creator of The Sockkids children’s series. Michael is also a former board member for the Long Island Coalition of the Homeless and has written several articles about the plight of homelessness for CNN, The Washington Post, Beliefnet, the Huffington Post, and America Online’s Patch service.
Learn more about Michael John Sullivan and his work:
Thank you, Michael, for being a guest on our show, for your friendship and for being a light in this world. It is always a pleasure chatting with you.
If you would like to be a guest on Heart-to-heart with Kyrian, please send your request with a short bio and photo to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!