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Posted on July 12, 2018 | 10:51 p.m.

Mary Hopping of Goleta, 1927-2018

Source: Pueblo del Rey Funeral Services

Mary Hopping
Mary Hopping

Mary G. Hopping was born to Mike and Anna Novotny Garchar in Dove Creek, Colo., in 1927. Her parents were immigrants from Slovakia.

Her siblings were Ann, Helen, Frank, Tom, Paul and John, all now deceased. The family raised pinto beans, wheat, rye and corn on their farm, established on virgin land.

Mary attended Dove Creek High School and graduated as valedictorian of her senior class in 1944. She completed her freshman and sophomore years of college at Dominican College of San Rafael in California, which she began attending in January 1945. Mary transferred to the University of Colorado in September 1946. She majored in education and minored in Spanish, graduating with a bachelor’s degree and a secondary teaching credential in 1948.

After graduation, Mary taught Spanish for a year (1949) at Rocky Ford High School in Rocky Ford, Colo., and then attended summer classes at the University of Mexico in Mexico City. Upon returning to the United States, she taught for another year in Rocky Ford. In the following summer (1950), she attended a summer program for teachers at the University of Madrid, hosted by the Spanish government. There she met the love of her life, a young Spanish teacher named George Hopping from Santa Barbara.

After she resumed teaching in Rocky Ford, she and George corresponded by mail. They were married in 1951 at Saint Jude Catholic Church in Dove Creek. They settled in Santa Barbara, where their first child, Johanna, was born in 1952, followed by their son, John Paul, in 1953. They were soon blessed with three more daughters, Stephanie (1955), Constance (1957) and Phyllis (1959), which also meant they needed a bigger house. During their years of living on the Mesa, Mary taught religious education in her home and later in their new parish, Holy Cross.

Mary Hopping
Mary Hopping

They moved to Goleta in 1963. In 1965, Elizabeth, their last child, was born. Mary was very busy as a full-time wife, mother and homemaker and also taught religious education classes for a few years at their new parish, Saint Raphael Church. She was a substitute teacher for Santa Barbara schools from the mid-1960s until 1977, when she began an entirely new career as a secretary at Santa Barbara Research Center (now Raytheon). She retired in 1991.

For several years in the 1990s, she worked as a part-time secretary in the Saint Raphael’s parish office. During her many years as a Saint Raphael’s parishioner, she also taught some religious education classes and was involved in various other volunteer efforts, especially a prayer group and the Women’s Auxiliary. In the late 1990s, a granddaughter lived with George and Mary for a few years until she was ready to “fly on her own.”

A highlight of Mary’s life was accompanying her mother on a trip to her mother’s birthplace, Smizany, Slovakia, in the summer of 1973, to visit numerous relatives there. Another was her son John Paul’s ordination as a Catholic priest in 1985.

Mary missed George terribly after he died in March 2016. They had been married for 64 years. But she always maintained her sunny disposition. Mary was cared for mostly at home by her family and died with a smile on her lips on July 10, 2018.

Mary lived out her deep Catholic faith and personal integrity through her commitment to her family, friends, relatives, neighbors, co-workers, parish and community. She was greatly loved and respected, and her passing leaves a huge hole in our hearts. But we rejoice that her suffering has ended, and we hope to be reunited with her in heaven!

Mary is survived by Emily Garchar, wife of her brother John; her sister-in-law, Phyllis (Hopping) Miller; her nephews Larry (Ellie) and Ken Miller, Mike (Julie), Dwayne (Cherrie), Steve (Audrey) and Eric (Shari) Garchar; nieces, Carol Ann (Jay) Dickinson and Margaret Weese; Max Morgan (Pam), stepson from George’s brief prior marriage; her son Rev. John Paul Hopping; her daughters Johanna Kirkup (Randy, deceased), Stephanie Hopping, Connie Turnier (Lee), Phyllis Vasellina (John), and Elizabeth Warhola (Mark); her grandchildren Casey Evans, Travis Morgan (Becky), Vanessa Swing, Michelle Ralston (David), Sabrina Turnier, Tony Turnier, John Paul Vasellina (Erica), Jeremy Vasellina, and Matthew Warhola; and her great-grandchildren Jacob Gross; Evan, Griffin, and Oliver Ralston; Beau Evans, Audrey Morgan, Paul Vasellina, and new grandbaby Vasellina (due in late July).

Mary’s family wishes to thank Mary’s excellent and compassionate caregivers, Alfredo, Elizabeth, Javier and Mai, as well as Central Coast Hospice Care, Alta Lucero Transitional Care and most of all, the family members, neighbors and friends whose love and support made all the difference during Mary’s last few years. Donations in Mary’s honor may be sent to Lifeteen Youth Ministry, c/o St. Raphael’s Church, 5444 Hollister Ave., Santa Barbara, CA 93117.

The vigil service will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 18, and the funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 19, both at St. Raphael’s Church. Interment will follow immediately at Calvary Cemetery. A reception will take place at the church hall following the burial.

Funeral arrangements are by Pueblo Del Rey Funeral Services.


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