George A. Waldeck II Dies
George and Kay Waldeck in their Jacksonville home.
Mr. Waldeck was the owner of Hofer Valve & Supply Company, was descended from a dredging family, and worked in dredging his entire adult life.
He began working for Merritt Dredging Company when he was 16 years old, and through the years worked for the Corps of Engineers for 10 years, Sterling Enterprises, the Navy’s ROIC, and as owner of Southland Dredging Co.
He began helping his father, Frank F. Waldeck, install Hofer suction relief valves for dredges in 1956, and after a successful dredging career, assumed daily operations of the Hofer Valve Company in 1991. George’s son Robert took over Hofer Valve Company in 1987 upon Frank Waldeck’s death.
George’s greatest dream was to design and build a dredge, incorporating years and generations of knowledge into one masterpiece, and he was nearly finished with this project when he died. He called this dredge “a dream (that is) becoming a reality that will be left to this unique industry that we love so much.”
The dredge designed as his legacy is being built for Kent Sand and Gravel in Massy, Maryland, will finish production by year’s end, and is the finest on the market, he said several weeks before his death.
“Here I say again, from bow to stern, there is no better out there,” he said in October.
George has left Hofer Valve to the next generation of Waldeck sons. Darren C. Waldeck will assume operation of Hofer Valve & Supply in honor of his father, and Darren’s brother Robert will participate in the company.
Mr. Waldeck valued the relationships, both business and personal, developed over the years. He loved and will miss all those he has encountered in the dredging business, and said with confidence that Hofer Valve will continue as a staple in the industry for generations to come.
He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Kathryn M. Waldeck, two sons: Robert C. Waldeck and Darren C. Waldeck of Jacksonville, Florida, a daughter, Kathryn Lynn Prust of Zionsville, Indiana; a brother, Joseph H. Waldeck; a sister, Judy Horychuch; and grandchildren, Nichole Marie Reer, Ryan C. Prust, Stephan Scott Reer, Kyle Robert Prust, Sara Nichole Prust, Kailyn Marie Waldeck and Gracie Lark Waldeck.
Family and company history
George Waldeck was descended from a Baltimore, Maryland dredging family. His mother’s father, Joseph J. Hock Sr. was president of the Arundel Dredging Company of Baltimore. His other grandfather, George A. Waldeck, Sr., started Waldeck Dredging in the early 1900’s, later becoming vice president of the Southern Division of Arundel. Their son Frank, George’s father, joined Dave Hofer in 1956 to help install the suction relief valves Hofer had patented in 1937. When Hofer died in the late 1960’s, Frank started Waldeck, Inc. to market and install the valves.
Upon Frank’s death in 1987, George’s son Robert took over the Hofer Valve Company, and George bought it from him in 1991, changing the name to Hofer Valve & Supply Co.
In 1990, he purchased the Southland Dredging Company name and equipment from Dick Baker of Baker Enterprises, and operated the dredge Juanita B, a 38-foot dredge tender J. Richard Baker, and a 16 x 14-inch booster pump, completing four dredging jobs. He sold Southland Dredging Company in 1991 to run Hofer Valve, and has been manufacturing and installing the valves ever since.
He was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in August of this year.
A Memorial Service was held on Wednesday, November 16, and many dredging people attended to pay their respects. Donations can be made to Community Hospice Foundation, 4114 Sunbeam Road, Ste. #101, Jacksonville, FL 32257, American Cancer Society, 1430 Prudential Dr., Jacksonville, FL 32207 or The Mayo Clinic, 4500 San Pablo Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32224.