Joan Hampel Hoedemaker, 91
Joan Hampel Hoedemaker, 91, died on Saturday, January 2 due to COVID-19. Her strong spirit, dedication to family, and love of people and fun will be dearly missed.
Born on Tuesday, August 6, 1929 in Baltimore, Maryland to the late John William Hampel and Ruth Marguerite Hampel (Swan), she was raised to be an independent spirit exploring Baltimore by trolley at a very young age.
Later, she attended Western High School in Baltimore, graduating in June 1947 with certificates of proficiency in shorthand stenography and typewriting. After a brief job as a secretary, she attended Western Maryland College (now known as McDaniel College) where she earned a bachelor's degree in physical education. She was active as a member and president of the Iota Gamma Chi sorority.
During her time at Western Maryland College, she spent a summer semester at Tufts University in Boston, where she “fell head over heels” for her future husband, Robert Hoedemaker, who was studying engineering at nearby MIT.
Robert and Joan married on June 25, 1955 and moved to Montgomery Township to raise their family. She dedicated many years as a loving mother and homemaker but also stayed active in the community by volunteering for the League of Women Voters, the Environmental Commission, and local political candidates.
When she wasn’t raising children, she taught at both the Baltimore and Stoneham, Massachusetts school systems, oversaw the Bridgewater Raritan School System’s Title I program, and sold houses as a real estate agent.
In 1986 her husband Robert had a serious handball accident that left him wholly dependent upon others for his care. For the next 24 years, until her husband’s death, Joan was the primary caregiver. She was forever grateful for the help and support she received from friends and the community during that time.
While caregiving for her husband, Joan developed symptoms of atypical Parkinsonism, which stopped
her participation in public life. After her husband’s death, she moved to an assisted living facility in the Princeton area where she remained until her death.
Joan loved to throw parties, play tennis, cross-country ski, and participate in all social gatherings. Even
when life became a struggle, she managed to carry on and find humor.
Joan is survived by her son Robert Hoedemaker, Jr. (Caroline Schneider Hoedemaker), daughter Sӓndra Hoedemaker (David Hoy), and grandchildren Madeline and Grace Hoedemaker.
She is pre-deceased by her husband Robert William Hoedemaker, Sr., and her sister Muriel Hampel
Baldwin (George Kenneth Baldwin). Joan’s life will be celebrated privately. In lieu of flowers, donations to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research are welcome.