Margaret Hoffman Radke


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Orono - Margaret Hoffman Radke died in Orono on July 28, 2019. Born Margaret Kathryn Hoffman on November 22, 1923 in Rochester, Minnesota to Roy J. and Lucille Denn Hoffman, she attended primary and secondary schools in St. Charles, Minnesota. During those years, her lifelong love of reading and literature was fostered by her maternal grandmother. She graduated summa cum laude in 1945 from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota with degrees in biology and chemistry, completed a master's degree in zoology at the University of California in Berkeley in 1947, and later undertook additional graduate studies at Iowa State University and the University of Maine.
Throughout her career, Margaret taught science courses at many institutions, including Hamline University, Hamline Ashbury School of Nursing, Iowa State University, the University of Maine, and Old Town High School. Beginning in 1970, she taught advanced placement chemistry and biology courses at Bangor High School where she served as science department chair from 1979-86. There, she mentored many talented students who presented their work in multistate venues including the Westinghouse Science Talent Search and the University of New Hampshire's Junior Science and Humanities Symposium. Upon her retirement in 1988, Bangor High School dedicated its new science wing to her. Margaret was revered by her students as a first-rate teacher who inspired them to excel and who cared deeply about their development as thinkers and as people.
Music formed an important part of Margaret's life. In her youth, she played the clarinet, piano, and violin and she sang as an alto for over 70 years. She directed Orono United Methodist Church's junior and youth choirs for 10 years and was an interim chorus director at Bangor and Old Town High Schools. For several summers, she was musical director for the Penobscot Valley Children's Theater. As an alto, she sang in programs for local organizations, in the choirs of Orono's United Methodist Church and Church of Universal Fellowship, and in the University of Maine's Oratorio Society for 64 years. Margaret belonged to the American Association of University Women, Order of the Eastern Star, National Education Association, National and Maine Science Teachers Associations, New England Association of Chemistry Teachers, and Alpha Delta Kappa educational honor society. She was listed in Who's Who of American Women. She served as a volunteer docent at the University of Maine's Hudson Museum, and led meditation groups. Margaret was an avid writer of poetry and a voracious reader of history and natural history, accumulating an impressive collection of books. She was greatly concerned with gender equality and helping women secure previously unavailable professional opportunities.
Margaret married Frederick H. Radke on September 4, 1946, with whom she had five children: Kathryn Radke (Petrolia, CA); Frederick R. Radke (Portland, ME); Lori Bessette (Rochester, NY); Eileen Nokes (Dexter, ME); and Sharon Radke (Davis, CA). She was predeceased by her husband, parents, brothers Denn and Walter Hoffman, and one of her ten grandchildren, Thomas Nokes. She is survived by her children and their spouses; nine grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren (with two more on the way).
A celebration of life service will be held at the Church of Universal Fellowship, Orono, on August 26 at 10am. Those who wish to remember Margaret in a special way may, in lieu of flowers, make gifts in her memory to the Professor Frederick H. Radke Award or to the Maine Summer Youth Music Thomas C. Nokes Endowment; both are administered by the University of Maine Foundation, Two Alumni Place, Orono, ME 04469-5792.
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Published on August 2, 2019
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17 posts

Cliff and June McCormick
Aug 08, 2019
Our sympathy to Kathryn, Lori, Eileen, Sharon and Fred. We have fond memories of your mother during our time in Orono, especially through our connection with Orono UMC. May your wonderful memories sustain you in the days to come.
Jane Irish
Aug 07, 2019
This wonderful lady took time and interest to try to help me when I was in high school. I will never forget her genuine kindness. I am very sorry for your loss.
Beverly Gardner Abbott-Rowe
Aug 06, 2019
Margaret sang at Jim's and my wedding almost 70 years ago. She was a very good friend of my mom, Virginia Gardner, as they enjoyed music together. Margaret was very instrumental in getting me into the School of Nursing at Hamline University where she had attended college. An important mentor in my life.
Susan Greenhalgh
Aug 05, 2019
I feel so fortunate and privileged to have gotten to know Margaret when she was a young mom! For a while in the early 1950s, the Radkes lived in South Apartments, near the UMO campus and just across a pasture from my family. Kathy became my fast friend from tiny tot-hood on. Margaret was a source of inspiration to me, as she navigated the complexities of raising a family of five, nurturing their musical and professional talents, and building her own career in an era that did not always energetically support women's ambitions. I followed her life through Kathy's stories and I always felt uplifted by what I heard. Thank you, universe, for putting the Radke family in my life, and for giving m...e the chance to know this marvelous woman.Read more
Dorothy Dickey Selleck
Aug 05, 2019
Mrs. Radke sang at my wedding nearly 60 years ago. She was a dear friend of my parents and I was a baby sitter for her children. A lovely family. She was dearly loved and will be greatly missed. I enjoyed my visits with her.. I am so sorry for your loss, Kathy, Fred, Lori, Eileen & Sharon. My husband and I plan to be with you on August 26.
Pam Coates Painter
Aug 04, 2019
I was sorry to read of your Mother's passing. Her obituary is a loving tribute to a life full of exciting experiences and accomplishments. May your memories bring you comfort.
Peggie Delparte
Aug 04, 2019
I am sorry for the loss of your mother Fred. She sounds like she was an amazing woman. Prayers for your family. 🙏🏻
Jean Ainaire King
Aug 03, 2019
Mrs. Radke was an amazing teacher. She had so much faith and trust in me, encouraged me to follow my own path and dreams. I will never forget her! God bless her family during these difficult days.
Chuck Shepley
Aug 03, 2019
I had the pleasure of having Mrs. Radke in science class at Bangor High School. She was a wonderful teacher, who made learning so much fun. My condolences to her family.
Pat Sirois
Aug 03, 2019
I worked with Margaret for many years at Bangor High School and enjoyed her company and they many conversations we shared. She was one of the brightest and most interesting women it has been by privilege to know.
Her contributions in and out of education settings are without measure.
Aug 03, 2019
That was beautifully written, Kathy! A lovely tribute to a lovely lady!
We are thinking of you.
Bruce & Jeanne Gorman
Aug 03, 2019
So sorry to hear about Margaret’s passing
We enjoyed meeting her at Brent & Katie’s wedding. Great lady’s!
Carla White
Aug 03, 2019
What a great life story. She must have been and amazing woman. I am so very sorry for your loss Fred and Claire.
Joe Joaquin
Aug 03, 2019
Fred & Family , Sorry for your loss
Aug 02, 2019
Mrs. Radke was one of the first extremely intelligent, classy women I ever encountered. I was in awe of her at Bangor High. Cheers to a wonderful life!
Joel Dougherty
Aug 02, 2019
I couldn't tell you who invented the ballpoint pen but I remember all of my mentors and Mrs. Radke was among the most memorable at a very early age. Memories of her will live on for many years to come.
David & Barbara Shaw
Aug 02, 2019
Fred and family,
May many years of wonderful memories and pictures sustain all who mourn the passing of Mrs Radke. Her wonderful life and dedication to learning are a wonderful reminder of a wonderful lady. May she rest in peace.