Elizabeth Hoheisel

Art ‘N Apples Festival Founder Dies in Ontario
Elizabeth Ann (Beth) Hoheisel, one of the founding members of the Rochester Arts Commission, passed away in Owen Sound, Ontario, on Friday, July 19th. She was 88 and had lived in Ontario since retiring from her career as an art teacher in the Rochester School District.
Ms. Hoheisel also served as a president of the Rochester Education Association and was a member of the negotiating team that bargained the first contract with the Rochester School District. She was an art teacher at Central Junior High School before moving on to the new Reuther Junior High School.
Rochester’s Avon Players benefitted from her involvement. A skilled carpenter, she helped construct the new A-frame playhouse on Washington Road and designed and built sets for musicals and dramas, beginning in the 1960’s.
Ms. Hoheisel’s involvement with Art ‘n Apples began when she was visited by Jean Saile, the editor of The Rochester News, to explore the concept of a festival to be held on park property in downtown Rochester. It was envisioned by the small commission as a departure from “fair” type events and, from the start, included judged competitions. The first festival, with exhibits housed in five circus style tents, appropriately apple red in color, took place in September 1965. Beth Hoheisel contributed funds for the first fine arts prize awarded that year.
At the time, Rochester was still a village and Rochester Hills was Avon Township, Oakland Township was farm and horse country. The festival, of course, continues to thrive.
While still working as a teacher in Rochester, Ms. Hoheisel purchased lakefront property on Manitoulin Island in Ontario’s Georgian Bay and personally built a rustic cottage. It became her summer home. Later, after retirement, she designed a year-round home in Courtright, Ontario, on the shores of the St. Clair River. This gave her the opportunity to watch huge ore and grain freighters pass by on their way to Lake Huron.
More recently, she lived at the Kingsway Lodge, a retirement home in Port Elgin, Ontario. She was in hospital in nearby Owen Sound with friends by her side when she passed away. A storm cell with heavy rain, high winds and lightning was passing through Owen Sound at the time of her passing, a dramatic and symbolic conclusion to a significant life.
Ms. Hoheisel was born on June 20, 1925 in Lansing, the daughter of Felix R. and Elizabeth Ann Hoheisel. Her parents were avid travelers and Mrs. Hoheisel a fervent antique collector, a skill her daughter shared. At one time, Beth Hoheisel had a significant collection of 18th Century American pewter. The family has documented roots to the American Revolutionary period.
She attended schools in Plymouth, Michigan and during World War II, was a volunteer ambulance driver for the local Red Cross, taking the place of regular drivers who had gone off to battle zones. She received a citation signed by President Truman, for her work. The area was adjacent to the Willow Run bomber factory and air field.
She earned a bachelor of arts degree from Ohio Wesleyan College and attended the normal college which was to become Eastern Michigan University for her teaching degrees. Later, in the 1970’s, she returned to Eastern to earn a master’s degree in higher education.
She participated in a summer art program in Mexico as part of her Ohio Wesleyan studies.
She is survived by one brother, Charles, a resident of Andover, New Hampshire; several cousins including Jane Hayden of Midland, Mr. Hoheisel’s daughter, Amy Wagner (Rev. John) and their six sons.
Ms. Hoheisel also acquired a wonderful “second family,” the Alexander’s, who were her next door neighbors on Manitoulin. Bruce and Anne-Marie, Bob and Cathy, Bill and Brenda all residents of Saugeen Shores, kept in daily contact with her during her years at Kingsway Lodge and were at her side in the hospital on July 19th.
Ms. Hoheisel has been cremated and arrangements for her return to Michigan are being finalized by the Knight Funeral Home of Corunna, Ontario. Her remains will be placed adjacent to her parents in historic Forest Hills Cemetery, Observatory Road, Ann Arbor. A graveside memorial will be scheduled in September.

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A private graveside service will be held.

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