Margaret Amy Hoffman

Margaret Amy Hoffman, 95, died peacefully on January 31 in Peterborough after a long period of declining health.

She was born in Spring Lake, New Jersey on August 24, 1921 to Everard C. Stokes and Phyllis M. (Beavis) Stokes, who had emigrated from England in 1919. Margaret, known as Peggy in the earlier part of her life, grew up in the coastal town of Sea Girt, NJ and attended public schools, graduating from Manasquan High School in 1939. After a preparatory year at St. Mary’s School in Peekskill, NY, she attended Radcliffe College from 1940-43, majoring in chemistry. At the end of her junior year, during the height of World War Two, she left college to marry John L. (Jack) Hoffman on November 27, 1943. Jack was a Harvard graduate who had recently enlisted in the U.S. Navy.

Margaret and Jack went on to have five children together, settling first in Old Lyme, CT and then Winchester, MA, before retiring to Amherst, NH in 1984.

In 1965, while living in Winchester, Margaret returned to school and earned a B.S. in psychology at Northeastern University in 1968, followed by an M.S.W. from Simmons College School of Social Work in 1973. She was proud of the accomplishment of finishing school and starting a career in midlife. She spent the next decade as a social worker at Kennedy Memorial Hospital for Children in Brighton, MA.

Following retirement and the move to Amherst, she pursued the creative interests she hadn’t had time for while working and raising a family. She took a variety of art classes and worked hard at developing her natural talent. She became a skilled artist, working in watercolor, oils, and pastel, and producing beautiful work, mainly flower studies and portraits. She also took piano lessons and became an excellent pianist, although she was too shy to play in front of people.

For several years she volunteered for the Friends of the Amherst Town Library and FISH, a group that provides rides to medical appointments.

Margaret was an avid reader, library patron, and a gardener who thrived on being out in the sunshine maintaining her lovely flower gardens. She loved dogs and had a number of them over the years. Earlier in her life she enjoyed horseback riding. She was adept with a sewing machine and made most of her own dresses (all the while grumbling about what a waste of time sewing was). She was a devoted mother who frequently said that her greatest joy in life was her children.

Her beloved husband Jack, a social anthropologist, died in 1992 after nearly 50 years of marriage. In the years following his death, she took several trips abroad, traveling to England, France, Spain, and Russia with her sister Mary or via Elderhostel. In 2002, while attending the Unitarian church in Wilton, she met John Voss of Hollis, NH. They spent a happy five years in each other’s company until his death in early 2008. Margaret then moved with her dog Cedric to the RiverMead retirement community in Peterborough NH, where she lived until the time of her death.

She was predeceased by a son, John L. Hoffman, Jr. in 1957, by both parents, her sister Mary Horn, and her beloved West Highland white terrier, Cedric. She is survived by her devoted children, David Hoffman and his wife Suzanne of Bivalve, MD; Stephen Hoffman of Alexandria, VA; Thomas Hoffman and his wife Alexis of Anchorage, AK; and Elizabeth Hoffman and her partner Anthony Iovino of Putney, VT. She is also survived by her four grandchildren, Molly and husband Mike, Alex and wife Amanda, Michael and wife Cheryl, and James; three great-grandchildren, Sophie, Oliver, and Madelyn; her sister Beatrice Miles, and seven nieces and nephews.

Margaret was smart, funny, artistic, empathetic, insightful, and generous. She will be greatly missed.

Her family would like to thank the staff at RiverMead for their unfailingly patient and loving care.

Burial has taken place at the Duck River Cemetery in Old Lyme, CT. There may be a memorial gathering at a later date. Arrangements were handled by Jellison Funeral Home. To view an online obituary please visit

Donations in Margaret’s memory may be made to Westie Rescue of New England, 10 South Washington Street, Norton MA 02766 or your local humane society.