Letter to the Editor: Death of Helen Hoag

Dear Editor:

The news of Helen Hoag’s passing at age 95 signals the loss of a special person in Downey, whose generous contributions to the community, especially in the arts, need to be noted.

Although most people did not know this, Helen underwrote the annual Symphony Concert in Furman Park, where thousands of families enjoy a program of Pops symphonic music every summer. She had already paid for this one in advance, so on July 29, at this year’s concert, we will be enjoying her generosity for one last time.

Helen never wanted us to spotlight her, but she also sponsored the annual Concert for Third Graders in the Downey Theatre, which is part of the Symphonic Society’s Music in the Schools outreach program. Although Helen never had children of her own, thanks to her, generations of school children had their first experience of hearing fine musicians playing complex music beautifully, in a formal setting. They all loved it.

As a patron of music, Helen Hoag exemplified the spirit of philanthropy, the desire to give back to the Community to enrich the quality of life.   Through the Larry and Helen Hoag Foundation, Helen touched lives in other areas as well, but what we knew best was how she made it possible for us to share our outstanding orchestra with so many.

We on the Board of the Symphonic Society salute Helen as a wonderful human being, funny, smart, with a sense of commitment that should endear her memory to the people of the Downey community.

Lorine Parks
Downey Symphonic Society