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Volunteer dedicated 5,000 hours to hospital

| Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Helen Hoffman's volunteer work with the St. Clair Hospital Women's Auxiliary assisted countless patients and their families, and earned her recognition as a vital contributor who provided more than 5,000 hours of service to the hospital.

"She not only worked on the information desk, but also ran the gift cart and helped with fundraising," said Georgianne Williams, director of volunteers at the Mt. Lebanon hospital. "She was a wonderful volunteer."

Helen Aline Hoffman, of Ligonier, Westmoreland County, formerly of Mt. Lebanon, died Saturday, July 22, 2006, in Ligonier Gardens. She was 100.

Born Sept. 25, 1905, in Brookline, she was the daughter of Hugh Arthur and Florence McCoy Dickson.

Upon graduation from South Hills High School, she worked as an analyst at Potter Bank and Trust, which later became part of PNC Bank.

It was through the banking industry that she met Howard Alfred Hoffman. After four years of employment, she left her job at the bank to marry him and care for the couple's home in Mt. Lebanon.

In 1973, Mrs. Hoffman began volunteering at St. Clair Hospital.

"She began after I left for college, after the nest was empty, so to speak," said her son, Donald Hoffman, of Ligonier.

Over the next 21 years, Mrs. Hoffman dedicated 5,000 hours of her time to helping patients and raising money for the hospital.

"She would push the gift cart all over the hospital selling items to patients and their families," Williams said. "The volunteer department evaluated her as being outstanding in her service."

"Mom would deliver mail and flowers, and comfort patients in the emergency room," her son said.

In 1985, Mrs. Hoffman was chosen to serve on the committee that organizes the Harlequin Ball, a dinner and dance fundraiser for the hospital.

"Her service to the community is outstanding, and any person that puts in that many hours is outstanding," Williams said. "From her records here, she is exceptional."

In 1999, Mrs. Hoffman moved to Ligonier.

"She was a very active and vivacious woman," Donald Hoffman said. "Never a mean bone in her body."

Her oldest son, Robert Hoffman, of Butler, Butler County, recalled her strength and vitality.

"She lived to be 100. She was a strong woman," he said. "She could light up a room for sure and was a person that everyone loved."

Her sons attribute her longevity to her great spirit and strong Catholic faith.

Survivors include her sons, Robert Hoffman, of Butler, and Donald Hoffman, of Ligonier; 10 grandchildren; and 21 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 42 years, Howard Alfred Hoffman; and two brothers, John Dickson and James Dickson.

There will be no visitation.

A blessing service will be conducted at 11 a.m. Wednesday in the chapel of Queen of Heaven Catholic Cemetery, 2900 Washington Road, McMurray.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Latrobe Area Hospital Charitable Foundation or to Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Ligonier.

Arrangements are by the J. Paul McCracken Funeral Chapel Inc., Ligonier.

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