Henry D. “Hank” Kauffman, 81, of rural Gambier, Ohio, passed away November 18, 2021 at Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus.
Hank was raised in an Amish family outside of Trail, Ohio. His entrepreneurial spirit was evident from a young age, and led him to start his first business: delivering blocks of ice to Amish homes. Hank joined the US Navy in 1963, where he served as an Electricians Mate on the destroyer USS Laffy until 1967. After his Naval service ended, Hank and his wife Mary moved to Columbus, Ohio, where he earned his Associates Degree in electronic engineering.
Following graduation, Hank worked for a company doing installation and repair of commercial and home sound systems. While doing this work, Hank met Bill Goodwin, who had recently retired from selling and repairing medical equipment. Bill brought on Hank as his partner, and Kauffman Goodwin Medical was born. Hank took full control of the business in 1976, renaming it Kauffman Medical Electronics, or KaMed. It was also during this time that Hank married Connie Marks, forming a loving partnership that would endure the rest of his life. Under Hank’s leadership, KaMed became a leader in the field of medical electronics.
In 1990, Hank sold his business, hung up his 3-piece suit, and dedicated his energy to breeding championship show llamas. With the help of Connie, Hank used the knowledge of animal training, breeding, and husbandry he had learned from his youth to turn Timberwind Llamas into one of the top Llama ranches and breeding operations in the country. Hank founded and served as superintendent of multiple llama shows, including the Hartford Fair (Johnstown, OH) and the Ohio State Fair. He conceived and developed the Alpaca Llama Show Association (ALSA) Regional and Grand National championship show programs, chaired the ALSA Grand National Committee and was the superintendent of the ALSA Grand National Championship for the first four years.
A charter member of the Ohio River Valley Llama Association, Hank served on the ORVLA Board of Directors six consecutive years, serving two of those as president. He is a former member of the ILA Research Committee, the Lama Medical Research Group, and served two terms as ALSA president. Hank was an ALSA judge for almost 40 years, an ALSA Judge’s Clinic Instructor, and was an ILR-SD teaching judge. His judging skill was respected throughout the industry, and was in high demand, traveling to judge llama shows in 27 states, 4 countries, and 2 continents.
Hank loved to teach others about llamas and worked hard to grow the llama industry. This included being a 4-H advisor for show llamas, teaching judging clinics, and speaking at many events and conferences about breeding, as well as using his marketing and business background to teach others how to run a successful operation. Hank wrote a regular column in the “Llama Banner” trade publication called “Ask the Herdsman”, where he passed along advice to other llama owners and breeders from his extensive knowledge of the breed.
After retiring as a full-time breeder, Hank found his love for woodworking, specifically scroll saw art. He began “Kauffman Originals”, and would travel the country selling his creations. After being asked to design and make trophies for the first “March Llama Madness” show in 2013, Hank continued to find new and interesting designs using exotic woods, and his business grew well beyond a retirement hobby. He once again became a regular fixture at llama shows, this time as a vendor. Hank’s craftmanship and attention to detail made his art very popular, and grew his legacy within the llama community.
Hank enjoyed all things outdoors, and he approached his leisure time with the same aggressiveness and determination that he brought to his vocation. He was a lifelong boater, earning his captain’s license and owning a large variety of boats of all sizes. Hank loved vacationing on his houseboats in Lake Cumberland, KY, and later piloting his Bertram Cruiser across the Great Lakes. He was a master water skier, and was known to jump islands on Lake Cumberland with his Imperial Tri-Hull boat. Hank was also an avid snow skier and was a long-time member of the Columbus Ski Club, serving a term as president. He took great pride in his landscaping and his vegetable gardens. Hank helped design and build his last two houses in Ohio, and had a role in every aspect of construction.
Hank leaves behind his loving wife of 43 years, Connie; Sisters Clara (Levi) Miller and Mattie (Roy) Mast; sons Steve (Heidi) Kauffman of Fostoria, OH and Aaron (Tiffany) Marks of Monroe, MI; grandchildren Christopher Pompey, Tori Kauffman, Erin (Travis) Nethers, Hunter Kauffman, Jessica (Keith) Lance, Erica Kauffman, and Will Kauffman; and great-grandchildren Azula and Zarmella Kauffman. He is preceded in death by parents Daniel and Katie, Brothers John and Nelson, and sons Eric Marks and Brent Kauffman.
Hank will be laid to rest beside his son Brent in Martinsburg after a private funeral ceremony. A celebration of his life will be held for friends, family, and well-wishers in spring of 2022.
The Fischer Funeral Home in Danville is assisting the family with arrangements. www.fischerfuneralhome.com
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