Harriet Hoctor Groeschel, 85, of Charlottesville, Virginia, died of complications related to heart surgery on September 11, 2023.
Harriet was born in Hoosick Falls, New York on June 16, 1938, to Frank Hoctor and Elizabeth MacDonald Hoctor. She was named after her aunt, Harriet Hoctor, the world-renowned ballerina and actress.
Harriet was preceded in death by her husband Peter Molloy Groeschel and is survived by her children: Mark August Groeschel, and his children James Potter, Rebecca Moffit, Courtney Newby and his spouse Donnelle Groeschel, and her son, Kyle Lainhart; Betsy Groeschel and her spouse Paul R. Johnson, and their children Augusta Groeschel-Johnson and Paul Molloy Groeschel-Johnson; and Eric Groeschel and his spouse Vivian Groeschel.
Harriet had an interesting life story, her early years in Port Washington, New York, and Classical High School in Providence Rhode Island. She joined the ballet when she was just 18 years old dancing for the Bremen Opera House in Bremen, Germany, and toured with the American Festival Ballet in Europe before attending College. She received a B.A. at Barnard College and a degree in Special Education at Columbia University in New York City.
Harriet and Peter raised their children on a farm in central New York. Harriet’s working life was quite varied as well and included teaching deaf children at the Lexington School in New York and the New York State School for the Deaf in Rome, New York.
Throughout her life, Harriet had a great passion for ballet and gave lessons for a brief period as well. She received an M.A. in Art History at Syracuse University. While living in Roanoke, Virginia, she did graduate work in art history at the University of Virginia. She worked as a docent at Monticello and in Roanoke, Virginia.
In retirement, Harriet and Peter lived variously in Manhattan, a cabin near the continental divide in Dubois, Wyoming, a ranch in Gillette, Wyoming, a farm in Staunton, Virginia, and a house in Nerja, Malaga, Spain. During those years she remained an avid dancer, cross country skier, hiker, yoga enthusiast, artist, illustrator, and had too many other interests to describe here. Though always busy with countless endevours, she always had time for family and friends, with a smile, warm hospitality, a gentle voice, and a generously loving demeanor.
A Memorial Service will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, September 16, 2023, at Park Street Christian Church, 1200 Park Street, Charlottesville, VA, 22901. The interment will be held in Sussex, New Jersey, at a date to be determined.
In lieu of flowers, donations made to the Charlottesville Ballet at Honoring Harriet Groeschel - Charlottesville Ballet would be greatly appreciated. Condolences may be shared with the family at www.hillandwood.com. Saturday’s service will be “live” streamed at ParkStChristianCh - YouTube.
Condolences may be shared with her family on the Tribute Wall.