Donald Graham Hoople



BRUNSWICK — Donald Graham Hoople, 84, of Brunswick died Feb. 11, 2014, at home. He was born Feb. 13, 1929, to the late Ross Hoople and Ruth Pearsall Hoople, in Syracuse, N.Y.

Don graduated from Nottingham High School in 1947, and received a BA from Syracuse University, where he was a voice major and piano minor. He married his college sweetheart, Sally Crosby, on June 3, 1951. Don taught music and humanities in the public schools of Fabius, Oneida and White Plains, N.Y. He was an enthusiastic teacher who thoroughly enjoyed the cultural advantages of living in the New York City area and often took interested students on trips to the Metropolitan Opera and other performances in the city. Affectionately nicknamed “Doc” by his students, he engaged their interest by incorporating popular music into his curriculum. He was past president of Westchester County School Music Association, held similar posts in Madison and Onondaga counties, and served as a guest choral director at several county festivals.

In addition to public school teaching, Don spent many years as a church organist and choir director. His last post was as Music Director of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in White Plains, N.Y. He also became an accomplished harpsichordist after he and son Doug built their own instrument.

Seriously committed to continuing education, Don earned a master’s degree in 1968 and a doctorate in 1976 at Columbia Teachers’ College. His dissertation topic was Moravian music, a subject that he developed a fascination with during his early college years. He and Sally collaborated on a number of publications and presentations in a wide range of subjects, from music and literature to art and architecture. They had a particular interest in the architecture of Frank Gehry and saw many Gehry creations in various parts of the world.

Inveterate and resilient travelers, they visited every continent, and lived in China during Sally’s four teaching and learning stints there. In 2004, Don, Sally, Nancy, Anne and Joe traveled to India, where they had the opportunity to visit members of daughter, Anne’s family. Don and Sally were Anne’s sponsors through the Christian Children’s Fund and subsequently brought her to the U.S. so that she could continue her education. She became a welcome addition to the Hoople family.

Don had a mile-wide domestic streak, which manifested itself in many ways. He was a masterful cook, and enjoyed concocting seemingly effortless culinary delights for dinner each night. He was often the first person up in the morning, bustling about the kitchen to prepare breakfast and brew coffee. Don was always busy with one household project or another, whether it was painting the back deck, planting impatiens by the hundreds, or rigging up ingenious organizational systems.

Don was an avid sailor. He and Sally spent many summers sailing in Long Island Sound and cruising the New England coastline. During their years in Castine, Don and Sally explored Penobscot Bay on their boat, Innisfree, and Don participated in the Retired Skipper’s Race. In more recent years, they enjoyed sailing trips in the British Virgin Islands with family and friends.

He and Sally spent many summers on the staff at Medomak Camp in Washington, Maine, where Don had summered as a camper during his youth. His children likewise spent most of their summers at camp, and Medomak remains a significant part of the Hoople family lore. In more recent years, Don and Sally regularly attended the annual Medomak Conductor’s Retreat concert, and the Hoople family held two family reunions on the camp premises.

After retirement from school teaching, and subsequent move from Mamaroneck, N.Y., to Castine, Don continued with guest organist appearances in the Mid-Coast area. He also had a fine singing voice, which he lent to Hendrix Chapel Choir at Syracuse University, The Collegiate Chorale in New York City and The Bagaduce Chorale in Blue Hill, occasionally as a soloist.

Donald was predeceased by a brother, Robin Hoople, of Winnipeg, Manitoba; and is survived by his wife, Sally, of Brunswick; a brother, Bill Hoople and his wife, Sandra, of Bon Carbo, Colo.; a daughter, Nancy Hoople, of Springfield, Mass.; a son, David Hoople and his wife, Betsy, of Simsbury, Conn., and their two children, Emily and Peter; a son, Douglas Hoople and his wife, Gwen, of Wellington, New Zealand, and their daughter, Karina Ronharter Jha and her husband, Kumud Jha; a daughter, Anne Ralte,and her husband, Joseph Connors, of Arlington, Va.; sister-in-law, Pat DeGroot and her husband, Bob, of Marysville, Ohio; and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.

A celebration of Don’s life will be held Saturday, July 5, 2014 at Medomak Camp in Washington, Maine. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made to the Mid-Coast Hunger Program, 84A Union St., Brunswick, ME 04011, or the Conductor’s Retreat at Medomak, 2950 Newport Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48103.


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