From billboards along area roadways to yard and car signage, Dennis Hof made his presence known throughout the Pahrump Valley.
His unexpected death on Tuesday, Oct. 16, obviously came as a shock to both supporters and non-supporters of his District 36 Assembly candidacy, so says Hof’s Chief of Staff Zack Hames, who literally shadowed Hof during area campaign stops.
“I worked with Dennis in the business, I worked with him in the campaign, I traveled with him everywhere and I was his executive assistant, so I did everything with him,” he said.
Hof, 72, according to his Campaign Manager Chuck Muth, died quietly in his sleep inside a suite at his Love Ranch brothel in Crystal, Nevada.
The cause of death has yet to be determined.
Missed campaign stop
As the self-described “Trump of Pahrump,” Hof, a Republican, was scheduled to make one of his regular lunchtime campaign appearances at the Pahrump Senior Center on Tuesday.
Hof actually paid for the lunch, as he had done many times before, throughout his campaign.
Anne Blankenship, site manager of the facility, said when Hof and his campaign officials did not arrive , she became concerned.
“When he didn’t show up we were not sure why because he never missed a date with us,” Blankenship said. “When the announcement was made that Dennis had passed, I announced it to our seniors, and there was a great gasp throughout the room. We were all shocked at the news.”
No sign of problems
Hames, meanwhile said Hof was in great spirits on Monday evening during a campaign rally and birthday bash event at the Pahrump Nugget.
Among those attending the special event were adult film star Ron Jeremy, former Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and political advocate, Grover Norquist, along with former, so-called Hollywood Madam and Pahrump resident Heidi Fleiss.
“The last time I spoke to Dennis was Monday night when we walked out of the event,” Hames recalled. “He said, ‘love you buddy, and I’ll see you in the morning and we’ll talk then.’ That was the last time I talked to him, and he was really in great spirits on Monday night. He kept saying that it was the best night because we had a great turnout for him.
“He said the party was the best time of his life and it was great. He just kept saying that over and over again, and how much fun it was.”
Regarding Hof’s health, Hames said Hof had a few minor health issues.
“He has diabetes and that was it,” he said. “But there was nothing that would have ever warranted any of this. He was in great spirits and he was doing good on Monday. He was laughing and singing in the car during our drive from the Bunny Ranch. There was never any indication that any of this was going to happen. Even though he was 72, he was a very strong and a very driven go-getter. He was also hard-working and a very amazing, amazing man.”
Despite, Hof’s untimely passing, Hames noted that the campaign will carry on.
“We are going to continue the campaign as if he was still here with us,” he said. “That’s what Dennis would want. We are just going to keep moving forward and get him elected, so the governor, the Republican Central Committee, and the state party can work together on getting a conservative voice in there, in place of Dennis.”
Business-wise, Hames made the same assertion.
“We’re going to continue with his businesses,” Hames declared. “Being 72 years old, and owning corporations, you have attorneys and staff that are in place who take care of all businesses as usual.”
In summing up his thoughts on his close friend, Hames described Hof as a very generous and kind-hearted man, who always gave back to the community in many ways.
“He just loved everybody and he tried to get along with everybody,” Hames said. “We were scheduled to sponsor lunch at the senior center on Monday, and we still sponsored the lunch in light of everything that happened. I had a campaign staff go down and be part of that lunch on Monday. We’re just going to carry on with business as usual.”
Legacy-wise, Hames said, people should remember Hof as a person who tried to make the world a better place.
“He was just the most amazing man in every way and very kind,” Hames said as tears began to form in his eyes. “Everybody that he came in contact with, He was just the most kind and caring and understanding and trustworthy, outstanding, amazing individual that anyone could have come in contact with. He tried to just make the community a better place.”
Got you covered
Hames’ feelings about Hof’s generosity were shared by Blankenship at the Pahrump Senior Center.
She recalled one rainy day when Hof dropped in to visit with area seniors.
“He asked me what we needed and I jokingly said a new roof,” Blankenship said. “He jumped right on it and made a generous donation. He then went on KNYE radio and put out a call to the community to help fix our roof. Commissioner (Dan) Schinhofen heard the call and went out into the community and gathered funds to help. Shortly thereafter, Dennis sent us a roofer and it was a done deal.”
Blankenship also said Hof made regular donations to the center.
“He held a meet and greet at the center and donated the proceeds from the bar to us,” she said. “He was always asking what we needed and wanted to help in any way he could. He loved coming in and talking with the seniors and they loved him. Dennis will be missed by many here and throughout the community. He was a generous man and he loved life and lived it to the fullest.”
A friend indeed
In a statement to the Pahrump Valley Times, Grover Norquist said that Hof’s death was a personal loss to him. “I have not become friends with all the political activists I work with,” Norquist said. “With Dennis, it was hard not be become his friend. That is not true with most folks, at least not in politics. Dennis would have been a leader to bring the Nevada GOP back to the Reagan/Laxalt tradition of limited government principles and honest governance.
“I have heard or read of the Republican rally on Monday as a party,” Norquist said. “I thought that was odd. They did have a birthday cake I saw at the buffet, but I don’t think it got cut up. I did say happy birthday to Dennis before I spoke on tax policy.”
Hames, meanwhile said there has been no announcement made on a memorial or funeral service for Hof, as of yet.
“At this point, I don’t know anything about what kind of services will be planned for Dennis,” he said. “As far as family is concerned, Dennis believed the girls on his staff were his family. We were just recently talking about all of us spending Thanksgiving and Christmas together. Dennis will be truly missed.”
Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at email@example.com, on Twitter: @pvtimes
See our special section on the Nov. 6 election inside today’s newspaper. Included is story about Hof’s name remaining on the Nov. 6 ballot.
A closer look
Read the Pahrump Valley Times for continuing coverage on the death of Dennis Hof. See more at pvtimes.com and on our Facebook page, which includes additional photos and video.