Katherine Hopkins, 92,volunteer, gardener

April 26, 1995|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,Sun Staff Writer

Katherine Diston Porter Hopkins, a volunteer and award-winning gardener, died Saturday of pneumonia at her Devon Hill residence on West Lake Avenue. She was 92.

Mrs. Hopkins' former Ruxton home was described as one of the "garden showplaces of Maryland" in a 1966 article in the Sunday Sun Magazine.

She and her husband, D. Luke Hopkins, civic activist and retired chairman of the board of Maryland National Bank, lived for many years at Tyrconnell, a Georgian-style house and estate on Woodbrook Lane overlooking Lake Roland.

It was at this 32-acre estate, which dates to 1826, that Mrs. Hopkins pursued her horticulture interest in gardens that were designed by noted Philadelphia landscape architect Arthur Telson Paul.

Towering cedar trees, azaleas, daffodils, boxwood, rhododendron, roses and other spring and summer flowers were set in a quiet, contemplative environment surrounded by numerous sculptures that Mr. and Mrs. Hopkins purchased in their trips abroad.

A member of the St. George's Garden Club and the Garden Club of America, Mrs. Hopkins often opened her home and gardens to tours, and for charitable events.

Mr. Hopkins, whom she married in 1927, died in 1976. In 1989, Mrs. Hopkins sold the estate and moved to Green Spring Valley. She moved to Devon Hill six years ago.

Mrs. Hopkins was raised in Chestnut Hill, Pa. She attended St. Mary's School in Peekskill, N.Y., and was a 1920 graduate of Miss Windsor's School in Boston.

In 1918, she became the first junior girls national tennis champion when she won the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association championship. She was a member of the Whiteman Cup Team in the early 1920s, and in 1921 beat Dorothy Walker, mother of former President George Bush, for another national championship.

During World War II, she and her husband lived on Bellona Avenue in Ruxton, where she had a Victory Garden and was active in the Red Cross.

"She had all 15 acres of lawn plowed up, and raised hogs, chickens and vegetables," said a son, former state Sen. C. A. Porter Hopkins of Cambridge. "She actually ran the place and would be out there in an old dress taking care of everything."

Mrs. Hopkins rode horses, skied and played tennis well into her 60s.

For many years, she was on the boards of the Hospital for the Women of Maryland, which later became part of Greater Baltimore Medical Center, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. She was a member of the Mount Vernon Club.

HTC Services for Mrs. Hopkins are scheduled for 4 p.m. today in the chapel of Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, 5603 N. Charles St., where she was a longtime member. Interment is planned for Northeast Harbor, Maine, where she had a summer home.

Survivors include another son, David Luke Hopkins Jr. of Baltimore; two daughters, Florence Hopkins Borda of Villanova, Pa., and Katherine Hopkins Mellon of Far Hills, N.J.; 14 grandchildren; and 16 great-grandchildren.

Memorial donations may be made to the Greater Baltimore Medical Center Foundation, 6701 N. Charles St., Towson 21204; or St. Mary's Episcopal Church by the Sea, Northeast Harbor, Maine 04662.

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