Former Los Altos educator and long-time resident, Louise Wylie Hoffman passed away May 29, 2011, at Belmont Village in Sunnyvale, California. She was 92 years old, and had battled a decade-long affliction with dementia. Louise was predeceased by her husband of 68 years William Parker (Bill) Hoffman on October 4, 2010. She is survived by her four children (and spouses): William P. Hoffman, Jr. (Lori Robson), Tucson, AZ, Eric Hoffman (Sherry Edensmith), Bonny Doon, CA, Rod Hoffman (Toni Kahlken-Hoffman), Anchorage, AK, and Anne Hoffman (Chris Plona), Point Richmond, CA, and her grandchildren Reid Hoffman (Michelle Yee), Palo Alto, CA, Allison Hoffman Portland, OR, Taylor Hoffman Fairbanks, AK, and step-grandson Dr. Greg Moon (Dr. Elizabeth Malcolm), Palo Alto, CA.
Louise was born to Ethel and Laurence Seabrooke Wylie on March 29, 1919 in Alhambra, California where she grew up with her four brothers and sisters (Jean, Marion, Seabrooke and Brown). The family believed strongly in education. Her great granduncle Reverend Andrew Wylie founded Indiana University. Her great grandfather Theopolis Wylie was a prominent faculty member at the university for 50 years. When the University admitted its first African American student, Harvey Young, in the fall of 1882, Theophilus solved the awkwardness of the housing dilemma by having Harvey reside in his home.
Louise and her sister Marion attended U.C. Berkeley. Louise graduated in l941 in psychology. During her junior year she met Bill Hoffman, a forestry student. They were married in Corpus Christi, Texas on December 10, 1942. With her husband serving in the South Pacific, Louise worked as a shift supervisor at a Lockheed plant making P-38 Lightning fighters. After a short post-war stint with the US Forest Service in Mississippi and Mendocino County, the growing family moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where Louise took up teaching and Bill attended Stanford Law School.
Louise adeptly juggled the needs of her growing family, teaching, and the pursuit of her many creative interests. She & Bill bought a home in Los Altos where they lived from l951 until 2005 when she moved to Belmont Village. From l952 to 1978 she worked in the Los Altos School District teaching grades 1 through 6 at Almond, Hillview, Loyola, Springer, Gardner Bullis, and Purissima elementary schools.
A dedicated educator with a deep fondness for children of all ages, Louise is remembered for her sharp intellect, upbeat attitude, warm smile, and willingness to spend extra time with students. She believed developing a positive self-image in children would lead to their success as adults. She found it helped her get to know newly introduced adults by imagining them as they might have been as third graders. Louise was an advocate for civil rights throughout her life. She demonstrated against the Vietnam War, and demanded respect for people from all walks of life.
Louise was a creative, curious, independent, high-energy person. When she retired from teaching she traveled widely to foreign lands and enjoyed having more time to pursue her artistic and outdoor activities. For many years she enjoyed backpacking and camping with her husband and children. She sometimes hiked 20 miles in a day. Louise expanded this interest to snow shoeing in the Sierras and cross-country skiing in Alaska. She race walked several times a week and for many years could be seen striding around the Los Altos High School track at the crack of dawn. She often said, “Exercise is the way to start the day.”
Her artistic endeavors were diverse. Much of what she created celebrates nature. An accomplished seamstress, she became a weaver, dying and spinning her own wool. She also enjoyed pottery, sand casting and carving; her woodcarvings are detailed and meticulously executed as evidenced by the double front doors that grace a family home. She also studied photography and developed photos in her dark room. She designed and made stained glass windows that can be found in homes in the Bay Area.
Louise was loved and admired by her husband, children, grandchildren, students and friends. An ever-supportive mother, she was proud that each of her children pursued their passions. She will be missed and fondly remembered for her immense energy, dedication to her career and family, many creative endeavors, dignity and truly good nature.
Friends, former students, and colleagues are invited to a celebration of Louise’s life, on Tuesday, July 12 from 3:30 to 5 PM in room 2 at the former Hillview Elementary School, 97 Hillview Ave, Los Altos, CA 94022.
Everyone is invited to share in posting memories and photos of Louise at: http://1000memories.com/louise-wylie-hoffman.
Donations in Louise’s memory can be made to:
Alzheimer’s Association,P.O. Box 96011,Washington, DC 20090-6011, http://www.alz.org/join_the_cause_donate.asp. Quest Scholars Program, 120 Hawthorne Avenue, Suite 103,
Palo Alto, CA 94301. http://www.questbridge.org/about/support_quest.html