Edith Mellie Lane Hoffmann was born in Springfield, MA, July 13, 1926, to Edith Merritt Lane and Carl Rugg Lane, and raised in West Hartford, CT. Her brothers, C. Merritt and Malcolm Victor, were 13 and 15 years older. A self proclaimed “oops baby,” her earliest memory is dropping Merritt at college. Despite the age difference, she was very close to her brothers as adults and enjoyed happy relationships with her sisters-in-law. She remained connected to her nieces Tina and Marcella and nephews Paul, Skip, and JC who always brought her joy and happiness recounting childhood memories to them.
At the young age of 14, she met the undisputed love of her life, Herman “Gus” Hoffmann. Married at the age of 21, she remained dedicated to him for 58 years. They lived on Hoffmann Farms on the top of East Hill in Canton. As the unstoppable duo “Gus and Sis” they survived highs and lows of all kinds. A living example of for better or for worse, their relationship continues to be an inspiration to her grandchildren. They loved early mornings, Johnny Cash, square dancing, the Grand Ole Opry, card games, traveling, RV camping, westerns and social activities of all kinds.
Initially hoping for a large family, she was blessed with only one child, Katharine Hart, who she loved with a fierceness a lesser woman would have found smothering. As a true testament to her love, she pushed past her deep disappointment in Kathy’s distaste for all things country and love of sleeping in, calm, and quiet introverted activities. At the “old maid” age of 23 Kathy met James Hart who immediately took the place of golden boy in the family. Trusting him implicitly, his opposing opinions often became “her ideas in the first place.” She also welcomed the entire Hart clan with open arms.
When Kathy had her own children Alexander Hart, Katharine Leenders, and Kristina Napolitano, she came into her own as a hip young “Tiger” as opposed to an old dowdy “grandma.” Spending every Sunday and long vacations with us resulted in many of our best childhood memories. Aside from a few unforgivable infractions, such as gaining weight during pregnancy and embracing the athleisure look, her grands could do no wrong. She enthusiastically welcomed our partners Jenifer (Fuller) Hart and Joel Napolitano, and later her five great grandchildren; James, Nicholas, Anna, Eve and Lilly were her pride and joy.
Tiger was the most dedicated caretaker the world has ever seen, providing top quality at home care to Gus for the better part of a decade. His passing just prior to her turning 80 was the beginning to a new chapter in her life. After a pesky bout with breast cancer, Tiger roared onto the geriatric dating scene. She enjoyed a deep friendship with Ed, who came with new experiences including bonding with his family, activities at the senior center, day drinking at the Torrington 99, trips to the Cape, and even an epic cruise.
Always up for a good time, Tiger made friends wherever she went. Despite the consistent annoyance of outliving those close to her, her positivity never faltered. In a final message to Kathy, located in her voluminous “When I Die” folder she wrote “I have had a wonderful life and loved living most of it. What I didn’t enjoy I learned from.” Even at the lowest of times she would look around at her family and loudly announce “I am so rich!”
Although she possessed an abundance of positive qualities, patience and a mellow nature did not come naturally. Holding herself and others to exacting standards often resulted in terror and feeble attempts at preparedness from administrators, management, medical professionals, office staff, and especially the entire pharmacy staff at the Winsted Rite Aide. God bless you all. At least she was cute.
Raised an Episcopalian, religion was her consistent source of solace. She was an active member of Trinity Episcopal Collinsville her entire adult life. While in Bushnell, FL, she found a home in the St. Francis Church community.
Tiger began walking miles a day around the age of 60 after expressing concern with the state of her waistline. Her dedication to exercise and structure doubtlessly propelled her well into her 90s. Even during quarantine at the Workman, she was well known for charging up and down the halls with her rollater in a ridged and complex pattern.
In 2019, she made the decision to move to the Workman, an adult community in Torrington, where she thrived for two years. Never one to shy away from male attention, she achieved the ultimate coup in 6/21, jockeying to a position at the head of an all male dining table following months of covert manipulation. Although she never reached the self described “top spot bragging rights” she took immense pride in being the third oldest resident.
Tiger died peacefully, surrounded by family at Kathy’s house, October 25th, the center of attention, just as she had (meticulously) planned.
Services will be held at 2:00 PM on Saturday, November 20th at Trinity Episcopal Church, 55 River Road, Collinsville.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Trinity Episcopal Church, PO Box 374, Collinsville, CT 06022. Please visit Tiger’s Book of Memories at www.vincentfuneralhome.com for online tributes.