EAST BERNE — Della Hoffman grew up on a farm without machines, where large Clydesdale horses were driven to plow the fields, but she later focused her hand on crafts and loved a loyal terrior mix named Tiney.
Della E. Hoffman died Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013 at Ellis Hospital. She was 66.
Mrs. Hoffman was born on Feb. 11, 1947 in Albany, N.Y., the daughter of Irma (née Fox) Garlock and the late Frank Garlock.
There were chickens, cows, turkeys, and rabbits on the family farm on Township Road, where Mrs. Hoffman lived with her parents and had daily chores and attended the Township Gospel Church.
Her son, Stephen Fronk, remembered the baking and cooking his mother used to do on the farm when he was a child. She made southern fried chicken, and cooked vegetables grown in the family garden.
“We used the chicken from the farm. We used the flour, Grandmother ground up the flour for us,” he said.
Mrs. Hoffman had German, Dutch, Irish, and Scottish heritage, her son said, but her Blackfoot Native American roots were especially important to her.
“She always liked the Indian tradition, because our grandfather on my mother’s side was into Indians, and she was into all kinds of Indian crafts and stuff like that,” said Mr. Fronk, adding that his mother enjoyed going to pow-wows, festivals of Native American culture.
He has several of the dream catchers she made, into which she wove their owners’ pictures. One he calls the “spider web” hangs on the ceiling above his bed and has white and brown feathers hanging from its diamond-shaped frame.
Among the other handmade crafts Mrs. Hoffman left behind, her son recalled a large animal-skin blanket, a leather cigarette-pack holder, and a leather belt.
The crafts were not made to be sold. Mrs. Hoffman worked jobs as a taxi-driver and later as a nurse’s aid at the Albany County Nursing Home for more than 10 years.
“She was very, very mellow,” said Mr. Fronk, noting that her voice was quiet, except when she watched NASCAR or wrestling events. She also enjoyed “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives” on the Food Network.
Her favorite car was the Ford Mustang and she owned a few throughout her life. She was an animal lover, and especially loved Tiney, who would follow her wherever she went.
“She tried to do better for everybody. She tried to help people. She wanted to make sure all of her kids were all right and make sure we all got together,” her son said. “I remember on her deathbed she was like, ‘Make sure everybody’s OK.’”
Della Hoffman is survived by her mother, Irma (née Fox) Garlock; her beloved children, Frederick Hoffman and his wife, Sue, Carol Pelkey, Ethel Mundt, Stephen Fronk and his wife, Mary, David “Matthew” Fronk, and Michael Fronk and his wife, Wanda; her loving grandchildren, Stephen Fronk Jr., Star Fronk, Giena Mendez, Shellie Mendez, Jessica Pelkey, Robbie Mundt, Angie Boulais, and Lindsey Mundt; her great-grandchildren, Jordan Boulais, Anthony Boulais, and Ricky Sitterly Jr.
Her father, Frank Garlock, died before her.
Services were held at the Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont on Feb. 27. — Marcello Iaia