Dolores C. Hoover dies at age 76

Accomplished gardener and designer had been arranger at Valley View Farms in Baltimore County

  • Dolores Hoover
Dolores Hoover
September 04, 2010|By Jacques Kelly, The Baltimore Sun

Dolores C. Hoover, a retired floral designer and avid gardener, died of congestive heart failure Thursday at Good Samaritan Hospital. She was 76 and lived in Monkton.

Born Dolores Marie Clayton in High Point near Forest Hill, she grew up on a family farm in Kingsville. While attending a neighborhood party, she met her future husband, Charles Dennis Hoover, who was entertaining guests as he played guitar.

As a senior at Towson High School, she married him the day before her graduation in 1952. She received her diploma and he was then inducted into the Army.

After his discharge from military service, they moved to College Station, Texas, where he was a Texas Agriculture & Mining University student. She took a job at a florist shop and remained a floral designer after they returned to Maryland. She arranged both silk and live flowers. She also taught arranging.

"She had a knack for working with cut flowers," said her husband, a retired Baltimore County junior high school teacher. "She knew what would go together and was good with colors."

When her husband was teaching at Carroll Manor Junior High School, Mrs. Hoover managed the school's teen center.

She also worked at Baltimore County florists, including Howard's Florist on York Road in Cockeysville and at Valley View Farms and Stebbins-Anderson. With a friend, she made miniature dish gardens, which she sold at home shows.

Mrs. Hoover taught herself the principles of gardening and arts and crafts. At times in her life, she taught candle making. Family members said she was a meticulous detail artist and would make dioramas inside Easter eggs. She also sculpted clay models of her children's homes. She took a welding class to make metal bird sculptures for her garden.

Mrs. Hoover was an accomplished gardener. She raised perennials, annuals and vegetables. She built a landscaped rock garden and pond and another outdoor environment she called her fairy garden.

"She was known for fairy gardens. She was known for her attention to detail and loved miniatures. She made little ponds, houses and bridges with fish," said her son, Dennis Patrick Hoover of Perry Hall. "Inside the house, there were plants everywhere. People would bring her sickly plants to bring back to life."

She was a past president of the Manor Garden Club and competed successfully in numerous flower-arranging competitions. She also watched birds and planted specific varieties of flowers to attract hummingbirds and butterflies.

Mrs. Hoover enjoyed cooking, canning and baking. She was also a cake decorator and made elaborate birthday, special occasion and wedding cakes.

"She was known for her cake design. She made a football cake, one shaped like a Barbie doll, Disney characters and a carousel," said her son. "She didn't just draw on the top of a sheet cake. Her cakes were three-dimensional."

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 12022 Jerusalem Road in Kingsville, where she was a member.

In addition to her son and husband of 58 years, survivors include another son, David Stephen Hoover of St. Petersburg, Fla.; a daughter, Dawn Green of Hickory; a brother, Emil Clayton of Abingdon; a sister, Edna Downey of Whitehall; and three grandchildren.

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