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Welcome to the memorial page for

Florence W (Whitney) Hoffman

September 1, 1928 ~ July 15, 2017 (age 88)
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Flo Hoffman, a resident of Granville since 1960, died in the early hours of Saturday, July 15th.

Florence Estella Whitney, named after her grandmothers, was born in Tama, Iowa to John Durrell Whitney and Eunice Gallagher Whitney. She lived with her parents in Oshkosh, Wisconsin until the family moved to St. Louis in 1930, where Flo was raised along with her sister, Margaret-Ann.  She attended Missouri Valley College in Marshall, MO, where at age 18 she met the love of her life, William A. "Bill" Hoffman Jr., and sang with him in the a capella choir.  They both graduated in 1950, Flo majoring in English.  Flo and Bill were married in St. Louis on June 15th, 1951 and lived West Lafayette, Indiana while Bill pursued his Ph.D. in Chemistry at Purdue University, and where the first two of their five children were born. In 1955 Bill took a position at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT where three more children were born.

The family of seven came to Granville in July 1960 when Bill was hired by Denison University.  While Bill was teaching, Flo was very busy with their crowd of small children, who can still attest that she and Bill ran a pretty tight but fun ship.  By 1973 the younger children were grown enough for Flo to return to the much more restful working world, first as the Slide Librarian for the Denison Art Department for several years; and then as the Denison University Archivist.  Under her tenure, the archives grew from a collection of dusty boxes to a full-scale operation requiring the college to hire a professional as her successor.  During this period she wrote a regular column on Denison history for the Denisonian Magazine.  After Bill retired in 1995, he became the primary support at home while Flo continued in the university archives for several additional years, finally retiring after more than 20 years in that position.

Retirement gave Flo the opportunity to increase her long-standing volunteer involvement with the Granville Historical Society, becoming the key archivist for written materials and photographs.  With Theresa Overholser, she edited the third, pictorial volume of the Granville Historical Society's Bicentennial History of Granville, which was published in 2004.  She was a long-time member of the Board of Managers for the Historical Society, only resigning in 2013 as her health declined, after which she was appointed Board Member Emerita.

 In addition, in 1990 Flo and the late Carl Frazier designed a plan for cleaning up and restoring Granville's Old Colony Burying Ground, which dates from the founding of the village and which was at that time overgrown and derelict.  Working with both Granville Village and the Township, they managed to raise funds, hire professional cemetery restoration consultants (Jim and Minxie Fannin), and organize an army of volunteers.  Over the next several years the weeds were cleared and many of the stones began to be dug up, repaired and set standing again.  In 2006 the Cemetery was included in the National Register of Historic Places and given an Ohio Historical Society marker on Main Street.  Over 25 years later, the volunteer restoration work continues under the guidance of her good friend and colleague Lyn Boone and other members of the Union Cemetery Board.  A stone-mounted plaque in the cemetery was dedicated to Flo in 2006, for her guiding vision and many years of work on the restoration.

In addition to their ongoing involvement in the Granville, Denison, and Kendal communities, Flo and Bill also pursued a love of travel, taking extended trips to Russia, India, China, Eastern Europe, and Scandinavia, as well as regularly visiting their children, grandchildren and friends in California, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

We remember Flo's sense of humor, her exactitude, and her unflappability.  Shepherding a family of seven across the continent in a VW Bus while camping, multiple times in different years, appeared not to faze her.  "We will cope," was something we often heard her say.  She was extremely well read, generous, astute, and quietly forceful.  Her inner drive did not preclude fun, relaxation, laughter, and a good glass of wine.  Her knowledge of her family history and genealogy, as well as Granville and Denison history, was detailed and extensive; she was a Historian’s Historian.  She was a wonderful mom, wife, sister, daughter, and friend.  She is irreplaceable.  Those who knew her well are fortunate indeed.

Her husband Bill died in 2011, just two months shy of their 60th anniversary, ending a close and loving marriage that remains an inspiration and source of gratitude to their children.  She is survived by sister Margaret-Ann Ellis and her husband Milton of Oberlin, OH; son John and his wife Sarah of South Bend, Indiana; daughter Janet and her husband Evan Rossheim of Philadelphia, PA; daughter Katherine and her husband Jerry Trammell of Roanoke, VA; son Karl and his wife Kim of Charlotte, NC; son Mark and his wife Maureen Driscoll of Davis, CA; seven grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and many loving nieces and nephews.  A memorial gathering in her honor will be scheduled in the next few months.  Her ashes will be placed in the Denison Cemetery next to Bill's.

The family would like to thank our faithful friend Lyn Boone, as well as the caregivers of Home Instead Senior Care of Granville and the assisted living facility at Kendal of Granville, for all they have done for Flo in recent years.

If you would like to make a contribution in Flo’s memory, it may be directed to the Granville Historical Society, and particularly to the ongoing Old Colony Burying Ground restoration project. Online condolences may be expressed at www.mcpeekhoekstra.com. 


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