Katherine C. Hoffman, former Red Cross volunteers director, dies at 90

Homeland resident enjoyed sailing

  • Katherine Hoffman
Katherine Hoffman (Handout, Baltimore Sun )
December 07, 2010|By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun

Katherine C. Hoffman, an artist and former longtime director of Red Cross volunteers, died Nov. 25 of dementia at a Washington assisted-living facility. She was 90.

Katherine McCormick Commiskey, the daughter of a career Army officer and a homemaker, was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and moved frequently in her early years because of her father's military assignments.

She moved with her family to Baltimore in 1934 and graduated from the Bryn Mawr School in 1939. She attended Goucher College and graduated in 1943 from the Maryland Institute College of Art, where she had studied with noted portrait painter Jacques Maroger.

During World War II, Mrs. Hoffman worked with the American Red Cross in India. After the war, she returned to Baltimore and opened a commercial art studio and then went to work as an interior designer for the old C.J. Benson & Co., a fashionable North Charles Street decorating firm.

In 1954, she returned to the Bryn Mawr School, where she was an administrator and directed the school's Stage Club. Mrs. Hoffman was named director of Red Cross volunteers in 1965, a position she led until retiring in 1980.

"She loved working for the organization because it was about helping people," said a daughter, M. Ryan Conroy of Washington.

Mrs. Hoffman was a resident of Homeland for more than 50 years. She was an avid Chesapeake Bay sailor and enjoyed spending weekends with her husband of 41 years, Johns Janney Hoffman, an electrical engineer, who died earlier this year.

She was married for 15 years to John "Jack" Conroy, a Baltimore lawyer, who died in 1963.

Mrs. Hoffman was a communicant of the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, 5603 N. Charles St., where a memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Dec. 18.

Also surviving is another daughter, Katherine Conroy Shaw of Monkton; and two grandchildren.

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