Teacher, counselor, mentor Gloria Hoffman, a 55-year resident of Rye, N.Y., died on June 17, 2021, after a long illness. She was 82.
She was well known in the community and touched the lives of so many through her many years of working with students at Rye High School, as well as dedicated volunteering for many local organizations. She was a longtime opera fanatic and cherished being a grandmother to her seven grandchildren.
Born February 6, 1939, in New York City, she was the daughter of Max and Edith Scharf.
After graduating from George W. Hewlett High School, she attended the State University of New York at Cortland where she earned her bachelor’s degree cum laude. Upon graduation, she became a teacher in Sayville, L.I. She later earned her master’s degree in Urban Education from Iona College where she was the recipient of the Iona College Memorial Award for Academic Excellence-Graduate Division and completed coursework in Guidance and Counseling at LIU. Education was central to her life and the lives of the students she later counseled.
In 1962, she married her high school classmate, Joel Hoffman, and worked briefly in the Harvard Law School Library while he completed his law degree.
In 1966, the Hoffmans decided to move to Westchester and settled on Rye after she recognized that it was both on the water and (then) boasted two bookstores. She was an ardent fan of the beach, Long Island Sound, and regular walks to Rye Town Park, which she enjoyed with dear friends over the decades.
Once settled in Rye, Mrs. Hoffman became an active member of the Junior League which led her to teach career development as a volunteer at Rye High School. The school was so impressed by the program and her passion for helping young people that they hired her as a career education teacher. Her love for the work and the students she served never faded. While at the school, she founded a community service internship program for students, and was asked to join the Guidance staff as a counselor, ultimately serving as the Director of Guidance for many years. She later served as the college counselor to students at Keio Academy in Purchase helping Japanese students navigate the American college system.
Beyond learning, teaching, and counseling, she was also dedicated to working with multiple community organizations as a volunteer or board member, including the TWIG, The Square House, Carver Center, and Rye Youth Council. For many years, she taught Sunday School at the Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation in White Plains, and later served as a deacon at the Rye Presbyterian Church.
In 1989, she and her husband purchased a country home in Millbrook, N.Y. From walks in the woods to her involvement as a member of the Freedom Plains Presbyterian Church to her ardent appreciation of the annual pig races at the Dutchess County Fair, she cherished her time there.
Gloria Hoffman had a keen interest in the arts, especially opera. She and her husband were regular fixtures at the Metropolitan Opera House. She was an ardent believer in lifelong education who took classes at the Rye Arts Center. After she retired the couple took classes in art history at Yale University and then traveled abroad to see the art they had studied.
She was both generous and creative, cherishing family traditions. Every December, the house was filled with handprinted holiday cards drying and waiting to be sent to family and loved ones near and far.
Gloria always gave of herself fully and lovingly to those closest to her. Not surprisingly, she found great meaning in becoming a grandmother. Watching her grandchildren grow was one of the great joys of the latter part of her life. She especially cherished their summer visits when they spent weekdays at Shenorock Shore Club and weekends exploring the woods at the country home.
A dedicated nurturer and a great believer in the importance of impactful work, she will be remembered fondly by the many students whose lives she touched as their counselor or teacher. “Gloria was a warm, outgoing connector of people both young and old. While she taught her children the proper way to set a table and other traditional social niceties, she could also be found doing the annual roll on the floor with a full belly after Thanksgiving dinner each year,” said her family.
In addition to her beloved husband of 59 years, Joel Hoffman, she is survived by her daughters, Laura (Chris) Lee, Margot (David) Juros, and Alison (Michael) Almasian; and seven grandchildren: Sosie, Owen, Devin, Taline, Jack, Evie, and Wendy. She is also survived by her twin sister, Gail Okun of Stamford, Connecticut and her older brother, Joel Scharf, of New Jersey.
Donations may be made to The Town of Rye, 222 Grace Church Street, Port Chester, NY 10573. (Attention: Camille Meola – Memorial Bench.) Gloria Hoffman’s wonderful life will be celebrated later this year.