Nancy Louise Hoffmann Leary

August 22, 1930 - May 15, 2020
Nancy Louise Hoffmann Leary
Service Date:
Tuesday, July 14, 2020 1:00 PM
Service Location:

Cathedral of the Madeleine

“Requiescet in Pace”

On May 15, 2020, the matriarch of the Leary Clan, Nancy Louise Hoffmann Leary, slipped her mortal bonds and ascended to heaven (stopping along the way to dance upon the rings of Saturn). Greeted by all the choirs of angels, she was also welcomed by her mother, father and brother, and wrapped into the arms of her late husband Judge Peter Flanagan Leary, daughter Theresa Louise and son Timothy Flanagan.

Born on August 22, 1930 in Perrysburg, Ohio, she was the third of five children born to Harold Casper Hoffmann and Alma Lucille Craine Hoffmann. Survived by siblings Peggy Anderson of Toledo, Ohio; Patricia Kazmaier of Key Largo, Florida; Stuart Hoffmann (Cheryl) of Murphy, North Carolina. Preceded in death by her parents and brother James D. Hoffmann.

She graduated from Perrysburg High School and attended a year of college at Bowling Green State. Returning home, she opened her own knitting store called “The Yarn Shop” in a small room at the front of her Father’s store. Her entrepreneurial spirit continued when she moved to Salt Lake where she sold her famous chocolate chip cookies to hungry college students at the local hangouts next to the University of Utah campus.

Not only was she a gifted knitter, she was talented in needlepoint, cross-stitch, quilting and much like her knitting, excelled at embroidery.
She came west as a flight attendant for United Airlines, training in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and was assigned to Salt Lake City where she met her husband, Judge Peter F. Leary. Together they raised a family of 12 children in the historic family home where her husband was also raised.

Upon his death in 1984, she came into her own, demonstrating true strength, independent spirit, and insufferable . . . er, “inspirational” stubbornness – successfully getting the 5 children still under her roof through high school and on to their next adventures.
Not content with 12 biological children, in 1987 she adopted a refugee from Vietnam into her Family – Triet Vo-Leary.

In the historic house, she prepared and cooked meals for the small army that was her family and any multitude of wayfaring strangers that found their way to the dinner table. Priests, Bishops, politicians, vagabond skiers, scoundrels, misfits, military veterans, lonely students far from home, academics, musicians, artisans, theologians (we can’t recall any pirates, but stranger things have happened . . .) all shared the comfort of her home. And, more often than not, her home was graced with someone – a friend, a grandchild, a stranger passing by – in need of a place of comfort, a place of healing, a place of wisdom. The nourishment she provided fed more than just the bodies of those around the table. All who felt her hospitality, her ability to give of herself for others, came away touched by her special spirit. Truly, in her home, there were no strangers, simply “friends” yet to be met. Perhaps better stated, “family,” yet to be embraced.
While she was both flight attendant and entrepreneur, she also worked many years for the Catholic Diocese of Utah in their administrative offices. Upon her retirement, she found a new passion, working the perennial flower section at Millcreek Gardens, where she consulted with thousands of customers on how to make their homes and gardens more beautiful. As a result, she created a verdant, park-like atmosphere at her own home, where many customers were invited to see all that could be possible.

She converted to Catholicism prior to her marriage and sang in the Cathedral of the Madeleine Choir for many years.
Surviving Nancy are her children, Michael Sean Leary (Diane Seppi); Catherine Ann Eckart (Ian Griggs); Daniel James Leary (Susan Franc); Patricia Ellen Bola (William Bola); Peter Hoffmann Leary; Mary Anne Airmet (Todd Airmet); Monica Jean Paluso (Todd Paluso); Triet Vo-Leary (Jenny Mac); Patrick William Leary (Amy Price); Kevin John Leary (Carrie Watts); Jennifer Marie Strader (Matthew Strader); 31 grandchildren and their spouses; and 12 great-grandchildren who loved calling her “Grammy.” Additionally, she is preceded by her husband Judge Peter F. Leary, daughter Theresa Louise, son Timothy Flanagan and grandson Liam M. Bola.

The passing of this great woman – the life-force that connected so many, in so many different and meaningful ways – will be celebrated with a Mass of the Christian Resurrection on Tuesday, July 14th, 2020 at 1:00 PM in the Cathedral of the Madeleine. It was in this building she was baptized into the Catholic faith. It was in this building she celebrated her marriage. In this building, she laid to rest a daughter, a husband, and a son. And it is in this building we will lay her to rest.
Interment will follow at Mt. Calvary Catholic Cemetery. For those unable to attend the Funeral Mass for Nancy, live-stream will be available by clicking the "Watch Now" link that will appear above before the service begins.  The service recording will be posted on this website thereafter to view anytime.  

On Monday evening, July 13th, per her wishes, a wake will be held to celebrate her life and its impact upon us all at Starks Funeral Parlor, 3651 South 900 East, Millcreek, from 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM ( To ensure compliance with current social distancing guidelines, we kindly ask that you call the funeral parlor at (801) 474-9119 to make a reservation.  The courtesy of wearing a mask to any of the services you attend is requested.

The Family asks that in lieu of flowers, you consider a gift to one of two places.
Quietly, for the past 25 years, she provided the funding for the beautiful holiday trees that decorate the Cathedral. Please consider a donation in her name to the Cathedral of the Madeleine to continue this tradition.
Otherwise, please consider a meaningful contribution to the Timothy Flanagan Leary Memorial Scholarship in the College of Natural Resources at Utah State University to fund those students making a difference in our world at

“May the angels lead you into paradise, and may perpetual light shine upon thee.”