NOTE - Peterman "Family Compass" with Thumbnail Portraits/Family Pictures:
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PETERMAN, Mary Elisabeth / HOYT, Bobby Frank

Mary Elisabeth (nee PETERMAN) Hoyt was born on September 4th, 1930 in St. Joseph Hospital, Stockton, San Joaquin Co., California.

She was the only child of Nathan Edward and Helen Marie (nee SNOW) Peterman.

Mary was at ease with kings and hobos alike. An extremely energetic woman who's biggest fault seemed to be taking in more animals than was practical.

From the beginning, she enjoyed animals of all kinds. Later, she explored painting, traveling and other interest. But, always, it was animals that intrigued her.

An only child--raised in the Hwy 33 area about 10 miles southeast of Tracy, California on the acreage her grandfather homesteaded in the 1800s--she found companionship with any animal that would follow her (or she could drag) home.


Mary attended New Jerusalem country school and later Tracy High School.

Her mother was a devote Roman Catholic and, of course, Mary followed in her footsteps. Here is Mary in her First Communion Dress.

When 15, her father sold the 40 acre farm and bought a 40 acre almond orchard on the West Side of Tracy (Corral Hollow Rd.). Mary helped with the orchard including tractor work and harvesting.

Her Grandfather Peterman helped establish the New Jerusalem School where her father, her, and her son Edward attended (one year before the family moved to town). It was about 3 miles from home. She rode a bus which took hours out of the day.

Her dad always had a mild cow, which her mother and her milked when her dad was out farming until late. A calf was raised each year, with bull calf butchered when grown and a heifer sold to someone who wanted a good milk cow. Mary helped her mother make butter and cottage cheese, which was sold to the neighbors along with any extra milk.

Mary joined 4-H and had many misc. projects--rabbits, pigs, sheep. But her greatest love was her horses.

When 6, her father bought her a Welch pony--a tri-colored pinto mare named Ramona. "Mona" pulled a pony cart and was a great riding horse. Mary rode her until she outgrew her. Mona had a foal colt named Snooper. He was half Welch and Half thoroughbred Remount stallion which a friend had obtained from the Army when the disbanded the Horse Calvary. Mary broke Snooper and he was her riding horse for many years.

She had other horses too. She kept pictures/records of her first horses in a leather photo album.


At Tracy High, she was active in sports and was a good student. In her junior year, she was enrolled in the El Portal Yearbook class taking photos and writing articles for the yearbook. Her teacher, Mr. Westlake told a boy, Bobby Hoyt (also in the class and the head photographer) that he could pick two helpers to take photos. Of course he picked 2 girls. One was Mary.

They became more than friends, with all those developing sessions in the dark room! They dated for 4 years before marrying in 1950. They graduated in 1948. Bob went to U of C Davis. Mary attended Dental Nurses Training School in San Francisco and worked in Stockton for Dr. Wm. Renwick as a Dental Asst. until she married.


On August 12, 1950, she married Bobby Frank Hoyt.

It was a big wedding at St. Bernard's Church in Tracy, with the reception in her parents back yard on Corral Hollow Road with about 200 attending.




Edward Robert b. June 23, 1951
Kristie Ann b. November 3, 1953
Kathleen Mary b. July 12, 1955
Karen Elizabeth b. April 9, 1957

Mary soon became pregnant and delivered a healthy baby boy. The first two babies were 17 months apart.

All the children attended St. Bernard and Tracy High. Mary went back to work when Karen was 5 for Dr. Coykendall, as a dental asst. Karen spent half-days with Grandmother Helen right next door.

The young family lived several places--Alvarado, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara but returned to Tracy in 1951, after Ed came into their lives.

They rented several places in and around Tracy for years. But then Mary's father passed away in July of 1962 at only 67 years old. This left Helen all alone in her little country house. So Bob and Mary built a lovely 3 bedroom home next door in the orchard.

They had room for all the dogs, cats, and horses the children wanted. They also had chickens, a duck, and tractors for Ed. The children helped with the farming operations, driving tractors, harvesting almonds and working on the sorting belt. One season after Bob went to work at Heinz and was buying fruit, Ed (about 16) ran the whole operation, with help from the others.


Her middle years would find her very busy raising four children while balancing a career.

But with the children in school and a live-in babysitter, she found she had energy to spare so she went to work again as a dental assistant. She worked full time near the elementary school where the girls were going to school.

After 6-7 years, she got a position as secretary to the Vice Principle and Athletic Director at Tracy High (her alma mater), Bill Swenson. She liked her work at the High School with lots of involvement in athletic programs and all the varied problems a Vice Principle has to deal with. She broke up some girl fights and had a student land on her desk coming out in a big hurry from Mr. Swenson's office. She made many good friends with the staff.

After her husband, Bob was transferred by the H. J. Heinz Company to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she worked as a secretary at North Allegheny High School in the North Hills of Pittsburgh for 9 years.


Around 1988/9 they retired and moved to Atascadero.

In retirement, Mary enjoyed the country life again with her many animals--horses, dogs, cats, and raising show Bantam chickens. She traveled all over California with them an even to Ohio to a big national show. Her love of horses has continued all of her life--she still rode in her late 60s.

She also likes to paint in both watercolors and oils. She enjoys all her grandchildren and great grandchild living nearby and kept in touch with those living far away. She and Bob volunteered at the Senior Center for Meals-On-Wheels and at the local nursing homes. Her and Bob were both members of Saint Williams Catholic Church.

In her autobiographical notes, she said that the move to Pittsburgh was the hardest thing in life she ever had to do. I suspect this was due to how little she wanted to make the move as it was to disposition the accumulations of her parents farm as well as the house they built next door. But she did what was so characteristic of her--she did it with enthusiasm putting her best foot forward in support of her husband.

Although she reveled in the live they had back east--the parties with dignitaries, the trips to New York to see plays--she found it very much to her liking. In ways she was sad to give it all up when they moved back to California. But in California were her roots and they family and friends she had kept in close touch with all her life. This was home.

In the last ten years or so, she devoted a great deal of her time and energy into breading and showing chickens.

She had a collection that was known far and wide. The local Chicken Club found homes for every one of her birds after they learned of her death. They spent weeks cleaning out the garage which she had taken over because the chicken coops were all full.

The club members were very excited to have some of these birds of hers but they were all very sad at the loss that afforded them such an opportunity.


Found in the horse album mentioned above...

In the end, they had been married for over 56 happy and productive years.


On May 30, 1976, Mary became a grandmother. Sandra Jeannette Davidian was born to Mary's oldest daughter, Kristine.

The next day, June 1, 1976, Mary became a grandmother again! Matthew Nathan Smart was born the very next morning.

Matt was due weeks before Sandy but he was over-term by something like six weeks. Then Sandy came weeks early, being born just hours before Matt!

Here she is with her first two grandchildren. What a way to be introduced to grandparenthood?




I believe this is Matt .

In 2005, Matt (along with soon-to-be wife Tracy) visited Mary at a chicken show in southern California.

Mary was only too happy to show the kids around. If she could combine animals with family, then she was her happiest.

She is wearing her personalized sweater with the "pet name" of their place in Atascadero, Hoytwood Acres.


Mary died unexpectedly from a sudden and massive heart attack on December 17, 2006 in Atascadero, California.

She was at home talking on the phone to another chicken lover in Tennessee. He immediately called 911 for her but help was too late.

--- oooOooo ---

Her efforts to find her ancestors continues with this family history dedicated to her memory.