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Jean Angeline Risinger Hoff

1921 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Jean Angeline Risinger Hoff Obituary
Jean Angeline Risinger Hoff

AGE: 94 • Wilmington, Del.

Jean Angeline Risinger Hoff, age 94, died peacefully October 4, 2016, at her apartment in Methodist Country House, Wilmington, Delaware.

She was preceded in death by her parents Harry Lester and Stella Eikenberry Risinger, her sister Mary Catherine Risinger Ziegel, and her husband of 57 years, Melvern Clayton Hoff.

She is survived by her three children, Nancy Roberts (partner John Driemen) of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Mary Ann Herlihy (husband Jerome O. Herlihy) of Wilmington, and Stephen Hoff (partner Lenore Jonasson) of Jackson Hole, Wyoming; six grandchildren, Jack Roberts (wife Aurelia Lipardi) of Montreal, Ramona Roberts (wife Amber Elliot) of Calgary, Rebecca Roberts (husband Greg Reynolds) of New York City, Sarah Roberts of Montreal, Thomas Herlihy (wife Jayna) of Wilmington, and Catherine Herlihy (fiance Ben Kenney) of Geneseo, New York; seven great-grandchildren, Joshua, Sabrina, Samuele, Veronica, Eli, Jordan, and Summer; and eight nieces and nephews, their spouses, and their two generations of progeny.

Jean Hoff was born in 1921 in Eaton, Ohio, in a house built by her grandfather, O. B. Eikenberry. She learned to play piano and violin at an early age. She graduated from Eaton High School. She received a bachelor of arts degree from Oberlin College, Ohio, where she studied chemistry, graduated Phi Beta Kappa, and became engaged to Melvern.

Upon graduation from Oberlin in 1943, Jean and Mel moved to Berkeley, California, where they married. They participated in the war effort as chemists at the fuel research labs of Shell Oil.

In 1945 she and Mel moved to Columbus, Ohio, where they became homeowners and parents for the first time. Mel completed a Ph.D. as Jean supported their young family with savings from her salary earned at Shell.

In 1948 they moved to Highland, Indiana, where they became parents for the second and third time.

Jean and Mel, while happy and well-raised, both came from families disrupted by death or divorce. Together they set about realizing an ideal family and were fully engaged with their children. Jean's parenting involved foresight and keen observation among attributes that did not call attention to themselves. The children's lives progressed smoothly without their awareness, at the time, of the extraordinary parenting skills being applied for their benefit.

In 1962 Jean returned to school, completed a master's degree in mathematics at Valparaiso University, and obtained teaching credentials. She taught high school math in Highland and in Naperville, Illinois, where the family relocated in 1970.

She and Mel purchased their fifth home together upon a move to Warrenville, Illinois, in 1984.

Jean led or participated in numerous social and community activities including the Presbyterian Church, PTA, League of Women Voters, Girl Scouts, and volunteer work at the hospital library.

She traveled extensively with Melvern, including camping in Yosemite, rafting through the Grand Canyon, numerous road trips throughout the U.S., and expeditions to Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, Central America, Peru, Galapagos, Seychelles, Australia, Japan, Greenland and Scandinavia.

She had diverse cultural interests, enjoying performing arts, creative arts, museums, movies, television, word games, card games, gardening, and bird watching. She was an avid reader of contemporary literature, frequently sharing books with friends and relatives.

Following the death of Melvern in 2001, Jean moved to Wilmington. She resided at Methodist Country House since 2005.

A private memorial and interment service will be held at a later date in Eaton, Ohio.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in memory of Jean Hoff to The Nature Conservancy, 100 West 10th Street, Suite 1107, Wilmington, DE 19801.

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Published in The News Journal from Oct. 7 to Oct. 9, 2016
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