Hope Hotchkiss Niedling


PLOVER, Wis. - Hope Hotchkiss Niedling, 96, of Plover, Wis., formerly of Mendota, died at her home on May 14, 2018.

Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. on Monday, May 21 at the Boston Funeral Home, Stevens Point, Wis. Visitation will be held from 11 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, May 22 at the Merritt Funeral Home, Mendota. Graveside services will follow at 12:30 p.m. on May 22 at Restland Cemetery, Mendota with Rev. Jerry Graham officiating.

Hope was born Feb. 14, 1922 to Bert and Merle (Vaughn) Hotchkiss. She married Ivan Martin Niedling on June 26, 1948 in Baltimore, Md. He preceded her in death on May 5, 2009.

Survivors include one stepson, Richard Niedling and his wife, JoAn, of Tucson, Ariz.; distant cousins in Illinois; and many good friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents.

Hope received her early education in Meriden and graduated from Mendota High School in 1939. She received a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana in 1943. She went on to complete a one-year internship at University Hospital, Baltimore, Md. and became a registered dietician. In 1974, she earned a Master of Science degree in Food Science and Nutrition from the University of Wisconsin, Stout. As a registered dietician, she taught dietetics at University Hospital, Baltimore and served as an administrative dietician with the Department of Education, Division of School Cafeterias in Baltimore. From 1950-1957, she served as the director of admissions at Thomas School of Retailing in Philadelphia, Pa. During 1957-1965, Hope traveled with her husband who was headquartered in Birmingham, Ala. She taught one year in the Home Economics Department of UW/SP. In 1970, she established her own dietary consultant business, which she continued until her retirement, serving many hospitals and nursing homes.

Hope was a very active alumnus of both U of I and UW, serving three consecutive terms on the University of Illinois Alumni Association. She was honored as the first woman to receive its Merit Award in 1957 and its Loyalty Award in 1976. In 1979, she was elected to the U of I Home Economics Board of Directors and in 1979 earned its Merit Award for her outstanding work with the elderly in the field of nutrition. During these years she was also elected president of the 600-member Philadelphia Illini Club. During her years in Birmingham she organized the Birmingham, Ala. Illini Club where she served as president from 1957-1965. In 1978, the nominating committee of the University of Wisconsin-Stout Foundation selected her as a nominee of the seven-member executive committee where she was elected and served for nine years. She was also appointed to the University of Wisconsin-Stout Alumni Association.

Through the years Hope was also an active member of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC) serving as a local and state officer in Pennsylvania, Alabama and Maryland and continuing service in Wisconsin. In 1978, she received the WFWC Theodora Youmans Citizenship award for the most notable contribution to good citizenship by a Wisconsin woman. She was elected Wisconsin state president from 1980-1982. She won a trip to Hawaii for the largest increase in membership for her efforts in Wisconsin, and later was elected president of the five-state Great Lakes Region of GFWC. From 1982-1984 she served as the chairman of the GFWC International Aid Division. During her club presidency in Stevens Point she was instrumental in organizing the Stevens Point Meals on Wheels program. This was a community improvement program for the local organization and won a state award for the club.

Hope was a direct descendant of many patriots of the American Revolution, and genealogy was her passion. She became a member of the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) where she was the first volunteer genealogist in Wisconsin. She organized and presented traveling lineage research workshops throughout the state and later was appointed Lineage Research Chairman of the National Society of DAR. She also held national office as vice-president general and served on the endowment committee for the Kate Duncan Smith DAR School in Alabama as well as many other state and national offices. On Feb. 1, 1973, she organized the Plover Nay-osh-ing Chapter of DAR and had the honor of attending the 45th anniversary celebration this year. She eventually traced her lineage to several Revolutionary War ancestors and joined more than 20 associated patriotic organizations and family associations including the Jamestown Society and the Associated Daughters of Early American Witches.

Hope was also an enthusiastic supporter of the Children of the American Revolution, serving multiple terms of office as a senior state chairman and senior state officer, working with people under the age of 21 years in corresponding positions to accomplish the patriotic, educational and historical goals of that organization. Under her leadership, Wisconsin C.A.R. members hosted a meeting of members in the five-state Great Lakes Region in Madison. The children learned the basics of parliamentary procedure from Hope, who was also registered parliamentarian.

Throughout her life, Hope was an active supporter of the Republican Party. She recruited poll workers in all towns, townships, and villages in Portage County and the city of Stevens Point. She was especially proud of greeting Ronald Reagan during his visit to Wisconsin and of her service as captain of Jack Olson’s campaign for governor. During her many trips to Washington, D.C. in her role as genealogist and national officer of DAR, she also met Bob Dole, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, Dwight Eisenhower and George Bush.

Memorials may be directed to the Humane Society of Portage County.

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