Las Cruces, NM 88001
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Hope Coburn

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Hope Betti Pleyl Coburn left this life on December 11, 2013. She was born July 28, 1922 in Washington, D.C., the only child of Wanda Simon Pleyl and Joseph Pleyl. Her childhood during the 1920s and 1930s was spent in the Northeast as her parents pursued work, living in Bloomsbury and Hackensack, N.J. and often spending summers in Gloucester, Massachusetts. High school years were in Providence, Rhode Island, and then she attended Maryville College in Maryville, Tennessee. After graduating with a B.A. In Psychology in 1945, she went to work in Knoxville, TN at Graystone Church as the director of Religious Education. There she met her future husband, Horace Hunter Coburn, on a church sponsored hike near Oak Ridge, where Horace was working. After her father's death in 1945, she returned to Providence, R.I. to be with her mother. Hope worked as a social worker for the next two years. Hope and Horace stayed in touch, marrying on December 24, 1947 in Providence. She joined him in Champaign/Urbana, Illinois, where Horace was in graduate school at the University of Illinois. She worked in the Family Service office there until their first child, Lynn Louise Coburn, was born. In 1950, Horace got a teaching position starting in the fall at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, so they left Illinois. That summer, she and six month old Lynn stayed in the basement of her father-in-law's home in Columbus, Ohio while Horace worked in Pittsburgh for the Westinghouse Corporation. In September of 1950, Horace began teaching at Moravian College. Due to the Korean War, the teaching position lasted only one year and Horace and Hope decided he should return to school to pursue his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. In May of 1951, a second daughter, Carol Ann Coburn, was born and the next month Horace left for Philadelphia. For the next two years Horace was in Philadelphia and Hope remained in Bethlehem with the two small girls and her mother. Hope managed the family and the house, taking in roomers/boarders to supplement the family's income. The family came to New Mexico in 1954, when Horace obtained a position at the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. In 1955, a third child, James Hunter Coburn, was born. Hope earned her master's degree in education some years later and taught for many years at Central, Mesilla Park, and Fairacres Elementary schools. In 1974, Hope and Horace took in foster daughter, Marilyn Webb, beginning a long and loving relationship that continues with Marilyn's family today. Hope loved to travel and over the years traveled with various family members to many places in the US, Mexico, Costa Rica, Europe, Great Britain, Japan, China, New Zealand, and Australia. As an early member of SERVAS, an international hosting organization to promote peace through understanding, she and Horace both hosted international travelers and stayed with local people in the countries they visited. She was always very active in her church, here in Las Cruces: initially First Presbyterian and later First Christian Church (Disciples). She worked to support people here through organizations like Christian Day Nursery, El Caldito, and Habitat for Humanity. She was a kind, giving, warmhearted, gentle, but oh so strong, soul. She was patient, committed, and very loving. Her family was very important to her. She had many wonderful friends. She loved flowers, nature, music, and beautiful things. She was funny and had a delightful laugh. She was preceded in death by her parents and a granddaughter, Katherine Hope Welch. She is survived by her husband of sixty-five years, Horace H. Coburn; two daughters, Lynn L. Coburn, Carol A. Coburn (John Welch); one son, James H. Coburn; one foster daughter, Marilyn Gonzales (Frank); three grandchildren, Cecily R. LaFeir (Ron), Amelia E. Zarate (Oscar Esteban), Nora Simone Welch; three foster grandchildren, Virginia Dunn (Zach), Chris Brown, and Gabriel Gonzales; two great grandchildren, Aelia Bernay Zarate and Oscar David Zarate; and four foster grandchildren, Reese Riedel, Josh Dunn, Madison Brown, and Layla Panthaki. A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, December 18, 2013, at First Christian Church (Disciples). In lieu of flowers, please send donations to First Christian Church (Disciples) at 1809 El Paseo Rd., Las Cruces, New Mexico 88001 or to the . Arrangements by Getz Funeral Home and Getz Family Crematory. To sign the local online guest book go to www. GetzCares.Com.
Published in Las Cruces Sun-News on Dec. 16, 2013
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