Marilyn “Lyn” Alice Hohbach
May 18, 1929-Jan. 8, 2023
Marilyn “Lyn” Alice Hohbach, born Marilyn Alice Krouser, was a beloved, respected, intelligent, and trusted person, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, friend, neighbor, and long-time community volunteer during her meaningful 93 years of life. She passed away peacefully in her home on the evening of January 8, 2023, with loved ones close by.
Marilyn was known for her strength of character, energetic creativity, intellectual curiosity, and her commitment to her family, friends, and community.
Marilyn was born on May 18, 1929, in Oxnard, California, on a farm that grew sugar beets, lima beans, and alfalfa. Her mother (Lilla) was active in the Order of the Eastern Star and her father (Wenley) was editor of the local newspaper, The Oxnard Daily Courier. Some of her childhood chores were collecting eggs from the chickens and cleaning the dishes with her Grandma Chico, who lived with them. During the Depression, she remembered that her family was fortunate as it had enough eggs to make an angel food cake. With her friends, she enjoyed her very own playground with a rotating teeter-totter, walking around on stilts, and rollerskating in town. Her love of animals (in particular cats and dogs) started with her childhood pets and continued into her golden years with two Corgis and a guinea pig. As a teenager, Marilyn was a proficient piano player and organist; she played the organ at her community’s church and accompanied many singers with her piano playing. Her love of music continued throughout her life.
Marilyn’s intelligence and love of learning earned her the status of valedictorian at Oxnard High School. She was active in the sports available at the time. While attending Stanford University and earning her Bachelor’s degree in International Relations, she enjoyed her history classes, meeting friends at The Cellar, and the dating scene.
After graduating, in 1951, Marilyn bicycled through Europe with three friends from college. Her subsequent professional life was primarily spent at financial institutions in San Francisco, including one of the first mutual fund companies. Her financial acumen benefitted those around her throughout the years.
While single and living in San Francisco in 1952, Marilyn threw a party with her two roommates and an uninvited guest came along with a friend of theirs. This unexpected attendee, Harold Carl Hohbach, asked her out to play tennis; a game she won. They continued dating and eventually married in 1955 at Portal Hurst Presbyterian Church and held their wedding reception in the Golden Empire Room at the Mark Hopkins Hotel. They lived in San Francisco, Menlo Park, and Atherton, raising four children.
Marilyn facilitated her children’s participation in a wide variety of activities, including music lessons and traveling, and emphasized the importance of education. One of the house rules was no television during the week from fourth grade on. She also wisely restricted certain television shows she thought were problematic. The family enjoyed various travels, including in the summer of 1973, when Marilyn traveled with all four kids on her own by station wagon to visit 47 states. Her children also benefited from her love of animals as each one was able to have at least one pet growing up.
Marilyn’s children also received the benefits of her energetic creativity. She organized fun birthday parties, memorable sleepovers, and created homemade Halloween costumes. She hosted her family’s Easter egg hunt every year, including in 2022. She delighted in kids of every age, including babies crawling to find their first Easter egg. With her grandchildren, she hosted numerous sleepovers and play times over the years. She continually thought of ideas for spending time with her children and eleven grandchildren; always wanting them to know how important and special they were to her.
Marilyn was an active community volunteer while raising her four children and long afterwards. She volunteered with the Parent Teacher Association (PTA), helped in her children’s classrooms, taught Sunday school at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, was a den leader with the Cub Scouts, helped with the Brownies, and was a Girl Scout leader. Through the years she also was a Board Member of Peninsula Center for the Blind, a tutor with Project READ, a member of the Stephen Ministry program at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, and helped organize reunions for her Stanford class of 1951.
With the Stanford University Museum of Art, now called the Cantor Center for the Arts, Marilyn was a touring docent for 15 years and helped raise funds for the museum through the Committee for Art. In one letter, Marilyn expressed that she particularly liked volunteering with the museum because she could help raise funds as well as keep learning. She wrote that volunteers can “investigate new areas of interest and thereby enrich your life.” In 2006, Marilyn received the Governor’s Award from Stanford University for outstanding volunteer service.
As a member of the Woodside-Atherton Auxiliary (now known as the Allied Arts Guild), which provides fundraising support to the Lucile Packard’s Childrens’ Hospital, Marilyn volunteered with numerous committees, sometimes as the Chair, and was the Guild President in 1977. She was influential in helping the Guild’s plans for restoration. Marilyn was a founding committee member of the Kelly J. Kolozsi Memorial Scholarship. She most recently wrote postcards to encourage people to vote.
Marilyn was intellectually curious and a critical thinker of what she read and heard. She was an avid reader of the newspaper, as well as nonfiction and fiction books. She was not swept up in trends that came and went. She was anchored in values that went deeper, such as integrity, faith, intellectual growth, generosity, hard work, and kindness.
She made meaningful, long-term friendships through her college years, volunteering, church, and groups. Some of those friendships were made in the early 1950s through a Young Republicans group, although politically she transitioned to an Obama-style Democrat in her later years. With her friends, she entertained often. Her energy was noticeable when she was thinking up new lyrics to an old song to celebrate a friend. She and her friends had many reasons to get together including bridge, a history club, tailgates, opera performances, theater, and Bible studies.
She continued her interest in sports as a spectator, attending many Stanford events and was a long-time season-ticket holder for Stanford basketball. With some of her grandchildren she would compete for accurate predictions in the NCAA women’s and men’s basketball tournaments.
In middle age, she handled the accounting in Harold’s real estate business. As a senior, she traveled extensively, including to India where her mother spent time in her young adulthood. She loved her garden and partly spent her final days in her home because of it. She also enjoyed Carmel-by-the-Sea.
Marilyn generously gave her time and attention to her family and friends, and also looked beyond to how she could contribute to others in her community. She strengthened organizations that helped elevate all people. In the last five years, she also donated substantially to Stanford Libraries to fund Hohbach Hall.
Marilyn was predeceased by her husband Harold and daughter Ann. She is survived by her son Doug (Kay), daughter Janet (Chris), and daughter Ellen (Lance), as well as by her grandchildren (Kasimira, Timothy, Pamela, Amanda, Cynthia, Joshua, Gerhard, Genevieve, Robert, Nolan, and Elizabeth) and great grandchildren (Parker, Lilla, and Willow).
Marilyn will be very missed.
For memorial service and donation information, please see below.