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Mary Ford Hopke


1926 - 2019 Obituary Condolences
Mary Tate Ford Hopke of Williamsburg, Virginia passed away on January 2nd, 2019 at the age of 92, after a brief illness. Mary, the youngest of seven children, was born June 23, 1926 in Wilson, North Carolina, to Margaret and John Ford. Growing up in Charleston, South Carolina, she worked in a candy and ice cream shop, and later in the Charleston shipyard. She graduated from Memminger High School in 1944. She graduated from Winthrop College with a BA in fine arts in May 1948 and married Ernest Rudolph Hopke on December 19, 1948. Their early years together started in Midland, Michigan. In 1960, with five children in tow, they moved to Williamsburg, Virginia, residing in the Queens Lake subdivision. They were active members in the Williamsburg United Methodist Church.Mary worked for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation as a tour guide and exhibit host for over 40 years. She was highly regarded for her historical knowledge, unflappable patience with school groups, and impressive ability to talk coherently while walking backward at high speed. But her real superpower was her empathy. She had a remarkable ability to connect with anyone she met, from her own family members to coworkers to school children and tourists. Anyone she engaged liked her almost instantly. In fact, all who met her felt like they immediately knew her. And, all that knew her loved her.Mary was an artist and loved to paint, doing so nearly her entire life. She was particularly fond of the impressionist and abstract styles -- art movements that departed from the tradition of representing the world objectively to instead recreate it as experienced by the eye. In that vein, Mary's art was conversational and engaging, every scene a warm invitation to the viewer to participate in the wonder of the ever changing light and color of her world. In its essence, her art was a metaphor for her life.But if you asked her, her greatest accomplishments were her five children, eleven grandchildren, and twelve-and-a-half great-grandchildren. She is preceded in death by all her siblings, her husband, Ernest and her son, Richard. She is survived by her four children: Margaret and husband Carl Carlson, Barbara Hopke and husband Steve Brill, William Hopke and wife Ruth, and John Hopke and wife Jeanne. Her surviving grandchildren are: Lisa Carlson, Eric Carlson, Amy Carlson, David Carlson, Meredith Brill Presson, Gregory Brill, Joseph Hopke, Matt Hopke, Lindsay Hopke, John Hopke, Elizabeth Hopke Randolph. Her surviving great-grandchildren are: Milo, Warren, Evan, Andrew, Addie, Olivia, Catherine, Madelyn, Brooks, Isabelle, Peyton, and Bruce.A memorial service will be held at 2:00 pm on Saturday, January 12, 2019 at Windsor Meade Retirement Community, 3900 Windsor Hall Drive, Williamsburg. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Hospice House of Williamsburg, 4445 Powhatan Parkway, Williamsburg, Virginia 23188 (www.williamsburghospice.org) to support the remarkable care given there. Online condolences for the family may be expressed at www.nelsencares.com.
Published in Virginia Gazette from Jan. 9 to Jan. 16, 2019
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