Remembering a true friend of optometry: Patricia Hopping

January 31, 2024
A crusader for vision and eye care in local, state and national communities, Patricia spread her love for the AOA across the country. The AOA sends condolences and thanks to the Hopping family for their years of service.
Dr. Patricia Hopping Memorial

In Ohio in the 1950s, Patricia Louise Vance Hopping and her husband, Richard Hopping, O.D, began their optometric journey together. Patricia worked tirelessly to support Dr. Hopping, who served as AOA president from 1971-72, but she went further than most and led a life dedicated to uplifting others as well as the profession of optometry.

As a crusader for vision and eye care in local, state and national communities, Patricia spread her love for the AOA across the country. Today, the AOA is sad to share that a true friend of optometry has left us. Patricia Louise Vance Hopping passed away on Jan. 22, with her husband Dr. Hopping by her side.

“My family and I are truly saddened by the passing of my mother, and yet we know we are so fortunate to have had her with us for so long. She deeply loved optometry and was always a gracious woman, remarkable in her caring and her dedication to helping those in need. We appreciate the many who knew her and have shared their thoughts and memories with us,” says Ron Hopping, O.D.

Her funeral services will be at McAuley-Wallace Funeral Home in Fullerton, California, on Saturday, February 3, at 2 p.m. If so inclined, gifts may be made in her memory to the Fullerton Arboretum, the Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University, the Fullerton Assistance League, or a charity of your choice. For more information, click here.

The legacy of Patricia Hopping

Patricia’s life was characterized by an abundance of commitment, leadership, service, hospitality and generosity. During the beginning years of her husband’s practice in Dayton, Ohio, Patricia assisted in the office and her passion for serving her community flourished.

Embracing the community around her, while pushing the boundaries to highlight the cultures from around the world beyond her Ohio community, she became active on the Board of Directors for the Dayton Council on World Affairs. She led efforts to create a goodwill cookbook with hundreds of recipes from ambassadors and embassies, worked with local high schools to increase students’ knowledge of different cultures, staged the first International Festival and chaired the “World of Flair” fashion show.

Through optometry, she found another calling. And it seems the phone just kept ringing.

As a delegate to the first-ever Drivers Licensing Colloquium at Michigan State University, she worked to promote traffic safety in Ohio and initiated the distribution of thousands of safety pamphlets to driver education classes throughout the country. After obtaining grants, she distributed the book Vision and Driving for the instructors as well as organized and assisted with vision screening programs through the Head Start program.

Continuing to promote driver education, she was appointed to the Governor’s Committee on Traffic Safety. She was a crusader for eye examinations as a requirement before receiving a driver’s license.

Patricia served on the Board of Directors and as President of the Auxiliary to the Miami Valley Society of Optometrists. Later, she served on the Board of Directors for the Auxiliary to Ohio Optometric Association, and again as President.

Patricia was also an active member of the American Foundation for Vision Awareness, chairing several national committees, and received the foundation’s highest national tribute, the Distinguished Appreciation Award, for her dedicated leadership in Ohio and California.

In 1971, Dr. Hopping became president of the AOA with Patricia by his side, ready to promote vision awareness and friendship within the optometric world community. Following the AOA, Dr. Hopping became president of the Southern California College of Optometry (SCCO) in Fullerton, California.

While in California, Patricia served as a legislative keyperson for the California Optometric Council and enjoyed introducing young people to the legislative processes and meeting their legislators. Each year, she obtained funding for officers to travel with her to the California Optometric Association Keyperson Day as she worked to instill an understanding and pride in our system of government.

For over two decades while at SCCO, Patricia was a role model and mentor introducing many hundreds—possibly thousands—of young optometry student spouses to the profession of optometry. She encouraged them with her own experiences and passion, sharing how as a spouse they could play a significant role in the profession and help advance vision care in their communities.

Patricia was the first non-optometrist to receive the Distinguished Service Award from SCCO. Both Hoppings were honored by SCCO with an academic building named after Dr. Hopping, and the beautiful gathering space in the center of campus was named “The Patricia Hopping Commons.”

In 1981, Patricia and her husband made it to the global stage. They were asked by the U.S. State Department to lead a People-to-People delegation of optometrists and spouses to travel throughout mainland China and Japan for a month of lectures and eye care.

From the Dayton Volunteer Bureau in Ohio to the philanthropic Fullerton Assistance League in California, she understood the importance of every community she entered—and most importantly, how she could help shape it into something better for those who needed it most.

Patricia’s noteworthy accomplishments are immense and her role in advancing the profession is quantifiably profound; however, it’s the feeling of support and love that Patricia is best known for. The AOA sends their condolences and thanks to the Hopping family for their years of service.

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