In Memory of Barbara Kouba Hoffman ’60

A memoriam of Barbara Kouba Hoffman ’60 submitted by her daughter, Rebecca Hoffman.

There’s another star shining bright in the night sky tonight. I’m sad to say my mom, Barbara, passed away peacefully in her sleep on October 23rd in her assisted living apartment in Vernon Hills, Illinois. She did not suffer and she passed as she lived, peacefully. Some of you knew my mom well. She was very funny, very well-read, knowledgeable about the most specific things and she lived a full and interesting life as a violist, orchestral musician, a microbiologist and ultimately as a gemstone specialist who loved working in the Fine Jewelry Department at Marshall Field’s back when the store was a shopping wonderland.

A true ensemble player, Barbara was a longtime member of the University of Chicago Orchestra and the North Shore Chamber Orchestra and other classical music groups during her life. Though classical music was a defining involvement for her, she had many other involvements and friends from all walks of life. She even ran two Chicago marathons in the 1980’s! Barbara also was devoted to many Czech-American Cultural organizations as these kept her close to her heritage.  She loved The New Yorker, The New York Times Review of Books, reading dictionaries of different languages and she was even fluent in Pig Latin which was always interesting to hear her speak it fluently with other people who could join her in those conversations.

Barbara was a wonderful mom, a doting, irreverent grandmother to our kids, a sweet mother in-law and a loyal-beyond-loyal friend to her many friends from all walks of life.

She didn’t want a funeral so we’ll skip that. And we can’t have a Shiva thanks to Covid-19. So we’ll skip that, too and let this post become a virtual Shiva. If you feel like memorializing her listen to some classical music (Mahler’s symphonies, The Moldau, Bach’s Unaccompanied Suites for Cello, The Goldberg Variations, or anything soul-stirring and good), drink a vodka and tonic as it was her favorite cocktail, eat a bowl of ice cream or watch a very funny movie as she would have liked to do.

Memorial contributions can be made in her memory to the Illinois Holocaust Museum as she always maintained that we should never forget the millions who perished in the holocaust and she was a quiet, unwavering supporter of the museum.  You can make them here:  https://18161.blackbaudhosting.com/18161/Cards–Tributes

Thanks for reading about Barbara, we lost a good woman last week.  Anyone wishing to reach Barbara’s family can email her daughter Rebecca Hoffman, [email protected]  or phone her at 312-282-4254.