In Memoriam: Connie Hoge 1954-2016
Most of us in the current incarnation of Carroll Garden Club knew Connie, so we are sharing in the loss of someone who had a definite presence while she was in our club. For me, this was also personal because she was my neighbor and the first person to befriend me outside the confines of CGC.
Connie joined CGC in 1996. She was then-President Nancy Heiberg’s Recording Secretary in 1999 and served on the conservation committee early on. When I joined in 2007, she was often the go-to person for any equipment set up. I found that she actually had a degree in studio production from Indiana University and had been a recording engineer in the Nashville music scene, so that was part of her ease with audio-visuals.
(All photos will enlarge when clicked)
Connie had a naturally outgoing personality that thrived in the presence of others–she came alive in that milieu. She was one to pitch in to help; more than just making suggestions, she would show up with tools in hand to get the project started. She very much enjoyed puttering about in her own yard and in helping others with theirs, sharing seeds and plants too. She was often one to raise her hand to volunteer herself for club activities. There were times that she bit off more than she could handle, because she was notoriously distractible, but her heart was so big that we all understood her good intentions.
Connie was a veritable fountain of facts—another friend referred to her as a “walking encyclopedia”. If she loved the subject matter, she could expound ad infinitum. I can recall walking near her while on field trips just to hear what she would say about all the plants in our surroundings. And she seems to know everyone in our neighborhood on most streets, out in the county and adjacent counties and what was going on in all the acreage!
She was also a great one “who-knew-someone-who-knew-someone-who-could-do-X”. She could advise on what groups could help you, where to get grants, how to interact with clients and the public, get volunteers and just freely gave of her ideas. She had connections from her 23 years on the Carroll County Forest Conservancy, putting on educational workshops and was an organizer of Conservation Camp for high school students considering careers in Forestry or Environmental Science. She was also a Master Gardener.
Connie also liked cooking and had worked at William Sonoma’s Cooking School in Costa Mesa as Director and had started a Personal Chef to Table business in Westminster, but I do not think she was still involved in that when I got to know her in 2010.
She very much enjoyed flower arranging and her favorite styles were non-traditional, she said. She often did floral arrangement demos for us along with Mary Ellen Bay. She became an accredited Flower Show Judge and is listed as such in our District V Directory.
Connie decided to get a Master’s Degree in Landscape Architecture at University of Maryland College Park and began commuting regularly for classes about 3 years ago, attending summers as well. She found the subject fascinating but challenging. (There are at least one or two blog posts featuring outings we went on.) Attending classes interfered with coming to Carroll Garden Club meetings, so she dropped out informally but still made some time to assist with the Design Classes, programs and proffered ideas and advice.
Connie was also very active in her church and was a woman of faith who radiated her inner spirit.
When a spine fracture revealed metastacized breast cancer, her connection to her God helped see her through chemo and contributed to her capacity to “keep on keeping on” as though nothing could stop her forward progress. She passed away on Thanksgiving Day, November 24, which was also the same day of her wedding anniversary. She was 62. We will miss this bright elfin spirit who so loved nature and her fellow man.
Here are some photos found from 1997-2000 History books. Click to enlarge.