Mary Margaret (Hoopingarner) Hastings

DECATUR – Mary Margaret (Hoopingarner) Hastings, 75, died Tuesday, June 9, 2020 at 1:30 AM ET at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia after a three-year battle with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. She WON – her amazing strength was called for a higher purpose.She was born January 20th, 1945 in Ames, Iowa, to Robert Van and Thecla Catherine (Wolf) Hoopingarner, not knowing she’d be the oldest of 11 children.She graduated from Goshen High School in Goshen, Indiana in 1962; Holy Cross School of Nursing in South Bend, IN in 1966 (receiving the First John Brademas Scholarship 1963); University of Pennsylvania in 1970 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing; Antioch University New England in 1982 with a Master in Education and Science Teaching; and from the University of Hartford in 1988 with a Master in Education Administration and Supervision.She married James Oswell Donaldson III on August 23, 1969 and divorced in December of 1983, giving birth to her son in Stuttgart, Germany while Jim was in the U.S. Army. They lived in Germany, England and then Berwyn, PA, before settling in West Hartford, CT in 1976.She is survived by her son Andrew Robert Donaldson of Atlanta, GA, his wife Kristen Kathryne (Fox), their daughter Paige Kathryne and their son Tyler James; her sisters Elizabeth Berfanger, Apple Valley, CA, Kathryn (David) Richter, Beverly Hills, FL, Jeannie (Ron) Bunnell, Elkhart, IN, Jane Hoover, Goshen, IN, Karen (Steven) Grubb Sr., Goshen IN, Suzanne (Steve) Slivka, West Chicago, IL and Teresa Evans, Goshen IN; her brothers John William Hoopingarner, Goshen, IN and Thomas (Judy) Hoopingarner New Paris, IN; 15 nieces and nephews; many more great nieces and nephews and so many dear, dear friends from throughout her life that she kept close to her heart.She was preceded in death by her mother and father, infant brothers Thomas Michael Hoopingarner and James Edward Hoopingarner, her brother Robert John Hoopingarner and her nephew Thomas Michael Hoopingarner.Mary was an educator, healer and devoted mother. She worked as an Obstetrics nurse at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania from 1967 to 1970. She then focused on raising her son before going back to work as a Science Teacher and Middle School Director at Watkinson School in Hartford, CT from 1982 to 1991. After Andy went to college, she then moved home to Goshen, IN and worked as a Staff Nurse and Clinical Education Coordinator at Goshen General Hospital from 1992 to 1997, and was also Adjunct Faculty, Department of Nursing at Goshen College from 1996 to 1997. In 1997 she moved back to New England and until 1999, Mary was the Lead Teacher, Math/Science/Technology at Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School in Devens, MA. From 1999 to 2003 she was Program Director for the Coalition of Essential Schools at the Center for Collaborative Education in Boston, MA, and lived in the Boston Area. In 2003, Mary moved to South Portland, ME and was a Senior Associate at the Southern Maine Partnership where she coached schools towards restructuring and educational reform in the Great Maine Schools project. From 2007 to 2017, as Senior Associate at the Great Schools Partnership, she did similar work but on a broader scale and pushed for equity in education as a key reform. She also moonlighted as a Clinical Nurse for the Hospice of Southern Maine from 2010 to 2012. In 2017 she started her own company Educating for Equity in Decatur, GA – having moved there in 2015 to be close to her family – and worked with Henry County Schools until 2019. In retirement she spent much time with her family, spoiling her grandkids and participating wholly in their lives, enjoyed her writing club and church, and traveled to Mexico and Scotland.She was a member of the Flagg Road Church in West Hartford, CT, the First Church in Windsor, CT and the Virginia Highland Church in Atlanta, GA. She was a Christian with a Buddhist philosophy – all humans are inherently good and deserve compassion.Mary loved gardening, birding, hiking, traveling, cooking, reading, writing, puzzling, playing games, movies, theater, opera and singing (all the arts and all of nature). NPR and British TV shows will miss her as a staunch supporter.Wherever she lived she grew amazing gardens, nurtured and grew her students and co-workers, formed an amazing group of friends, was involved in her community, found time to visit her family often and lived life to the fullest. She was one with the water, and the ocean brought her peace.She was a liberal Democrat; against the death penalty, supporter of social reforms and a believer in equality and being equitable to all! She marched in protest throughout her life and is watching over the marchers now.She was kind, strong in her beliefs and point of view, not afraid to express her opinion, nor have a dissenting opinion. She was easy to talk to, and COULD she listen and give a helpful perspective! She was always learning, meeting new people and without trying, made people feel comfortable and valued. Her laugh made you laugh. To be sure, she also had a competitive nature.As her granddaughter said recently, “the world has Mary Poppins, we had Mary Margaret Hastings”, both ‘practically perfect in every way’. May she rest in peace and may the seeds that she planted continue to grow and multiply, so that this world can be a better place for each of us!If you want to share a tribute, please go to https://www.tribute.co/mary-margaret-hastings/A Celebration of Life service will be held on Saturday June 27th at 10 AM ET at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens and on Zoom here – https://us02web.zoom.us/s/74820796251?pwd=aG1wUDh6VDlCY3dlVzlGTE9XcUpPQT09. Due to current COVID restrictions, space will be very limited at the Gardens. Please contact her son if wanting to attend in person. Future celebrations in Goshen, Ind. and Portland, Maine will be planned when COVID restrictions have been lifted.As for a donation, please donate to one of your favorite causes in her name or to the Virginia Highland Church https://www.vhchurch.org/

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