Hoag was lifelong educator with interest in history and travel


October 25, 2018

Eleanor Hoag

Retired teacher Kate Saunders said her mother, Eleanor Mathilda Hoag, 95, died Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018, at Marcus Daly Hospice in Hamilton, Mont. of natural causes.

The obituary Eleanor wrote for herself is succinct: "Born in Chicago, Illinois on February 10, 1923, the daughter of Edward Sidney Bartz and Bertha Mathilda (Miller) Bartz. She attended Chicago public schools and graduated from the University of Illinois in 1944 with a B.A. in English. In 1947, she received her M.A. in Teaching of English from Columbia University. In 1951, She moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan to teach at Ann Arbor High School and later at Pioneer High School, where she taught English, World History and was a lecturer in the Humanities program. In 1954 she married fellow educator, Leonard B. Hoag. Eleanor was active in community affairs especially after her retirement from teaching in 1984. Her interest in world history led to extensive travel, domestically and worldwide. She enjoyed gourmet cooking and eating in fine restaurants."

"That's my mother," Saunders said. "She was very much about education, and especially advocated for educating women." In person, Hoag was a small woman with a warm smile. "She was very independent, and was her own person and lived life on her own terms," Saunders said.

Hoag traveled to 50 countries (she kept a list). "Most people took pictures of the place, she returned with photographs of the great meals she ate," Saunders said. "She also loved to cook exotic foods."

Hoag took a teaching job in Ann Arbor when she was one class shy of her Ph.D. She had plans to return to Columbia to complete it when she met history teacher Leonard Hoag. She gave him an ultimatum: she'd stay if they married or return to New York if they didn't. They married, and raised two children together. Son Bart is a retired Montana smoke jumper. Leonard died in 1992.

In Ann Arbor, Hoag was active in the League of Women Voters, the Culinary Historian and University Women clubs, a gourmet dinner club, and attended a Unitarian church where euthanasia advocate Dr. Jack Kervokian was also a member. "She was a big fan of his," Saunders said.

She moved to Haines at 91 to be near her daughter, Kate, and granddaughter Elena and enjoyed attending community events and activities with them. She volunteered a little bit for the museum and library and baked for the Hospice of Haines fair booth before her health declined.

Former Mayor Stephanie Scott appreciated her perspective on politics. "Eleanor was a historian, and had a good sense of what we had been as a country, and where we were going with our government. It was fun to talk with her," Scott said.

"In those last few years in Haines, my mother became my friend," Saunders said. "I miss that."

In January, Hoag moved to a Montana nursing home to be near her son.

In addition to her husband, Hoag's brother Charles Bartz preceded her in death. She leaves son Bart Hoag (Barbara) of Darby, Montana, and Kate and Elena Saunders of Haines. Per her request, there were no services.


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