Cornelia D. E. Hoffman, 94, retired bookkeeper, singer

August 06, 1999|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Cornelia Dorothea Elizabeth Hoffman, a retired bookkeeper who sang in her church choir for 80 years, died of congestive heart failure Sunday at her Irvington home. She was 94.

"She had a beautiful soprano voice and sang from the time she was confirmed until two years ago," said her son, William H. Hoffman of Columbia. "She was also a good cook who made German potato salad and sour beef and dumplings."

The former Cornelia Dorothea Elizabeth Zies was born in Southwest Baltimore. As a child, she spoke German at home -- her grandfather, Jakob Wilhelm Karl Zies, came to the United States in 1867 -- and she attended one of the last German-language public schools in the city, near Otterbein United Methodist Church.

When the United States entered World War I, the school changed its instruction to English.

Mrs. Hoffman was a 1922 graduate of Western High School and won its George Peabody medal for academic excellence.

She was a bookkeeper before her marriage Aug. 20, 1927, to Hollen B. Hoffman Sr., a Baltimore attorney. He died in 1947.

After her husband's death, she resumed bookkeeping, first for Jess Cloak Co. on West Baltimore Street and then for Barcelona Nut Co. in Southwest Baltimore. She retired about 25 years ago.

Mrs. Hoffman also played the piano and entertained at family gatherings and sing-alongs in the Irvington house built by her grandfather in 1898.

She belonged to the Ladies Guild at Immanuel United Church of Christ, 1905 Edmondson Ave., Catonsville, where she was a lifelong member. Funeral services will be held there at 10 a.m. today.

In addition to her son, she is survived by two other sons, Hollen B. Hoffman and Charles R. Hoffman, both of Catonsville; six daughters, Eleanor H. Kerpelman of Baltimore, Cornelia H. Reese of Westminster, Margaret H. Roberts of Woodlawn, Dorothy H. Rushworth of Brewerton, N.Y., Ruth H. Hoffman of Baltimore and Charlotte H. Lillard of Elkridge; a sister, Katharine M. Dempsey of Woodlawn; 24 grandchildren; and 47 great-grandchildren.

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