Jeanette R. Hoffman, of Hamilton, NY, died at Presbyterian Home in New Hartford, NY, in the early morning hours on Thursday, November 3. She was 93 years old, and had suffered from Parkinson’s Disease for several years. She is survived by her husband of 38 years, Dr. Roger A. Hoffman, professor emeritus at Colgate University; her three step-children Christine Hoffman of Sherburne, NY, Patricia Hoffman of Sherrill, NY, and Roger Hoffman, Jr. and his wife Michelle of Roanoke, VA, as well as her step-granddaughter Erin Zielinski of San Francisco, CA.
Jeanette was born in Los Angeles, CA, the only child of Helen Heldman and Fred Ruth, who were originally from Utica, NY. After completing graduate school, Jeanette’s chosen field was in the sciences, and she held various positions with the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD; the Fish and Wildlife Service in College Park MD; the Zoology Department at the University of Maryland; the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD; and was the Associate Program Director for the Regulatory Biology Program at the National Science Foundation in Washington, DC, where she worked from 1957 until she retired after her marriage to Roger Hoffman in August 1978 at the age of 54. This was Jeanette’s first and only marriage, and it was a perfect union.
Jeanette relocated from Washington, DC, to Roger’s home in Hamilton, NY, and quickly adjusted to her new life in rural upstate New York. She became involved in the League of Women Voters and Hamilton Fortnightly, as well as St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church. Jeanette and Roger shared a love of trout fishing and travel, and successfully combined these interests over the years with guided fishing expeditions to such places as New Zealand, Idaho, Argentina, New Mexico, Chile, and Tasmania. Prior to marriage, Jeanette’s love of learning and inherent curiosity about other cultures took her to Africa where she traveled alone through several African countries during a time when women simply didn’t do such things.
She was a strong, independent woman long before the feminist movement gave voice to such qualities, and she was simultaneously a gracious homemaker, a supportive and encouraging wife, and a woman who generously believed in always finding good in both people and situations. She had a sharp intellect and was an avid reader, particularly of biographies. She was an exemplary role model to step-daughters Christine and Patricia, and her wisdom and insight and exuberant love of life will be greatly missed.
A memorial service will be held at St. Thomas’s Episcopal Church in Hamilton, NY, on Saturday, November 19, at 11:00 AM, immediately followed by interment at the cemetery on the Colgate University campus. A reception will follow at the church. Donations in memory of Jeanette may be made to the Parkinson’s Residence at Presbyterian Home (c/o Lenora D'Apice, Executive Director of Advancement, Presbyterian Homes & Services, P.O. Box 1144, New Hartford, NY 13413) or to St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church (12-1/2 Madison Street, Hamilton, NY 13346).
Arrangements have been entrusted to Burgess & Tedesco Funeral Home, 25 Broad St., Hamilton, NY.