There are many people who feel like they don’t know enough about their family history. It is important to sit down with family members and share stories from the past while we still have the opportunity. Knowing our background can help us connect with our roots and understand ourselves better. Nellie Hoff, a 100-year-old resident at Mustang Creek Estates of Sachse, spent lots of time talking about her life with her daughter, Carolanne Capron-Reid, and has made a conscious effort to ensure Capron-Reid knew her father’s side of the family despite the fact he passed away when she was very young. One of Hoff’s favorite memories to share is her experience as one of the first female Marines during World War II. Hoff waited to be able to join the female Marine Corps and serve her country. The middle child of seven, she watched three of her brothers join the military and finally, in 1942, The Marine Corps Women’s Reserve was established, and Hoff didn’t have to wait anymore. Capron-Reid fondly remembers growing up listening to her mother’s stories about being one of the first female Marines to serve, and she wants to make sure her mom’s story lives on by sharing it with others.
“I always joke that the Marines' Hymn was the first song I learned because both my parents were Marines,” said Capron-Reid. “I am proud of my mom for everything she has accomplished in her life. She is an amazing and intelligent woman who grew up on a farm in Kansas. Her mother died when she was 11 and her father when she was 13. Thanks to my mother and her siblings and the way they grew up, our family is very close to each other. She is an incredibly strong woman.”
In 1943, Hoff secretly jumped on a bus and went to Kansas City to enlist to The Marine Corps Women’s Reserve. When Hoff’s family found out that she enlisted without telling them, they were upset. After Hoff finished boot camp, she became part of the human resources administration team and was then selected to retain the officers’ training records. After one of her brothers died in the war, she was discharged and went back to Kansas where she started working for the VA system. Hoff married her first husband in 1948. He died tragically when their daughter, Capron-Reid, was only three years old. Within the same year, Hoff lost two brothers as well. She remarried years later, but her second husband passed away in the 1980s. That’s when she decided to move to Texas to be close to her daughter. Hoff has three granddaughters, two step-
granddaughters, seven great-granddaughters and five step great-grandchildren. Capron-Reid’s daughter likes to call her grandmother “Dutch.” This is the nickname that stuck, and a lot of people now call her that.
“Nellie has only lived here for a few months, but she has already touched the lives of so many people in our community,” said Rosanne Wilcox, activity director at Mustang Creek Estates of Sachse. “Listening to Carolanne sharing her mother’s story and seeing her caring for her the way she does is truly heartwarming. We are honored we get to help Carolanne share her mother’s story.”