Carolyn J. Hopkins (nee Griffin), 88

January 30, 1935 - December 01, 2023

“The most wonderful things in life are neither seen nor touched, but are only felt with the heart.”

With family by her side, Carolyn passed gently with the Lord’s embrace and joined those beloved who have gone before.

Loving wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, friend and colleague, Carolyn and her late husband of 65 years, Maxwell (Max), spent their final years together at the Spring Run community of Willow Valley in Willow Street, Lancaster County, PA. After Max’s passing in 2021, Carolyn continued to be blessed by the caregivers at The Glen community at Willow Valley until her last days.

Born Carolyn Jo Griffin on January 30, 1935 in Muskegon, Michigan, Carolyn is survived by her daughter Shari Rinaldi (William Rinaldi), her sons Michael Hopkins (Melanie), and James Hopkins (Maria), her 5 grandchildren Christina, Benjamin, Anthony, Alyssa, and Thomas, her sister Marjorie Cochran (Thomas Cochran), and 4 nieces and nephews. Predeceased by her husband Maxwell Hopkins, and parents Charles and Laurice Griffin (nee Watson).

Professionally, Carolyn was a special education teacher and union president in Kendall Park, NJ, a real estate professional, and an Innkeeper in Wilmington, VT. She also served her faith community as an elder and choir member at Kingston Presbyterian Church in Kingston, NJ.

After formative years in Michigan through adolescence, Carolyn moved to Terre Haute, IN, where she would graduate from Wiley High School as truly a “swell gal” with solid middle-American roots and values. Her choice of the small school atmosphere at Hanover College in the southeastern corner of Indiana on the Ohio River was not dissimilar to a certain other gentleman’s decision two years prior. For it was here at Hanover where her fate and many futures would be determined on the spark of a blind date with an upperclassman named Max.

Carolyn and Max were partners in marriage and in life, through and through. They became each other’s fortitude, and made each other both stronger and softer. In hindsight it may appear the winding road that brought them to Willow Valley was perfectly planned. History shows otherwise. The twists and turns all brought new adventures and laid the additional building blocks for a marriage and a life together that would bless them all their days.

After Max and Carolyn’s graduation from Hanover College, where Max was a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity and Carolyn was Homecoming Queen, they put down their family roots at 54 Cambridge Road in Kendall Park, NJ. Just four houses from the school their children would attend and where Carolyn would later teach, they began to form the bonds of community with new friends and family connections that would carry across the miles with them for life.

Early in their journey together, while raising three children through elementary school, Carolyn enrolled at Trenton State College (now College of New Jersey) to earn her master’s degree and begin her special education teaching career in the Kendall Park section of South Brunswick, NJ. In a distinguished career, Carolyn was recognized worthy of the George V. Cooke Memorial Award, and also served as president of the teacher’s union.

From education, Carolyn would transition to real estate and then join Max as the innkeepers of the Red Shutter Inn in Wilmington, VT, where they would open the doors every day to welcome new guests to a “home” away from home. (By the way, just imagine being “on” every day, all day.) While Max would make breakfast for the guests each morning, work the land, and later tend bar and a massive fireplace during their open-to-the-public dinner seatings, Carolyn would “manage the house”—handling reservations, managing a superb staff, greeting and seating guests, and always smiling. They made a great team: the frat boy physicist and the Homecoming Queen union leader. Somehow, this chemistry led to great success. The handwritten pre-internet guest book is filled with warm and glowing memories of guests’ treasured experiences over their eight year run. It was at the Red Shutter, too, that they adopted Ian, the first of their retired service dogs.

Carolyn’s interests were varied and included evolving and complementary activities with Max and her children. She would continually challenge herself with new adventures, most notably learning to fly a two-seat Cessna 150 and the four-seat 172. After Max faced a medical grounding, Carolyn took on the (initially) secret quest of also earning her pilot’s license. Her success led to one memorable trip of many: with Max as her co-pilot in the right seat beside her and their two youngest seated behind her, she flew the 1800-mile round trip to her 25th college reunion in Indiana, then on to visit family in Chicago before returning home to New Jersey. Her pilot’s logbook reflects her study, her tenacity in training, and ultimately her accomplished goal—enabling her husband to get back in the sky.

Other adventures included travel, starting with the family’s gradual climb up the camping style ladder as it graduated from life in a floorless tent to a pop-up camper to luxury glamping in a 19-foot travel trailer for five weeks at a time—trips that accommodated two adults, three kids and a labrador retriever. Two legendary cross-country trips started with Carolyn at the wheel for two weeks before Max could join the family in Albuquerque, from where the gang went on to the Grand Canyon (the mule ride there leaned a bit too far off the path for comfort) and points west and beyond.

Carolyn and Max would soon outgrow the camping life (after the kids had left home), and learned that there were these buildings and facilities called hotels and resorts and cruise ships that could accommodate their adventure spirit quite nicely. Bermuda, Carolinas, Caribbean, Europe and the UK, and around the tip of South America, were all favorites with old friends and new friends. Everywhere an adventure.

Simultaneously, Carolyn took up the challenge of golf. And not only did she learn one shot at a time, Carolyn and Max soon became golf partners and compete in “mixed” (male / female) tournaments. And the trophy plates memorialize their successes, winning “low net” awards up and down the East Coast (Trenton, NJ and Brandermill, VA) over a 25-year career.

A life filled with family and friends, hugs and smiles …

Donations in memory of Carolyn J. Hopkins could be directed to Guiding Eyes for the Blind at

Sleep well Carolyn, in union with those gone before, and may the adventures ahead be miraculously beautiful. May God continue to bless you, and may your memory bring joy and peace to those who mourn.

Leave a condolence on this Memorial Page

Be sure to include your name

Please note that your condolence will not appear on this page until it is reviewed. Condolences usually appear within 24 hours of being submitted.

Condolences to the Family

December 18, 2023

Thank you for this. I cried throughout reading it. I really loved both Uncle Max and Aunt Carolyn a lot. They made me feeling accepted and very loved. 
Evelyn Schmechtig Cochran

Send Flowers Online

Offering Lancaster, PA funeral services for over 75 years.

Our six funeral homes in Lancaster County makes it easy and convenient to make arrangements and host services close to home.

  • Charles F. Snyder Funeral Home Downtown Lancaster
  • 414 East King St.
  • 717-393-9661
  • Charles F. (Chip) Snyder, Jr. Funeral Director / Supervisor
  • more info
  • Charles F. Snyder Funeral Home Lititz Pike
  • 3110 Lititz Pike
  • 717-560-5100
  • Charles F. (Chad) Snyder, III Funeral Director / Supervisor
  • more info
  • Charles F. Snyder Funeral Home Millersville
  • 441 North George St.
  • 717-872-5041
  • Mark D. Burkholder Funeral Director / Supervisor
  • more info
  • Spacht-Snyder Family Funeral Home Lititz, PA
  • 127 South Broad St.
  • 717-626-2317
  • Jacqueline Adamson Funeral Director / Supervisor
  • more info
  • Bachman-Snyder Funeral Home & Crematory Strasburg, PA
  • 7 South Decatur Street
  • 717-687-7644
  • Norman T. Mable Funeral Director / Supervisor
  • more info
  • Charles F. Snyder Funeral Home Willow Street, PA
  • 2421 Willow Street Pike
  • 717-464-4600
  • Kelly Gramola Townsend Funeral Director / Supervisor
  • more info