It is with deep sadness that we share the news that Jean Maritz Hobler, founder and emeritus board member of Hope Happens, passed away on November 15, 2019.
Jean, with her son Chris and other family members, founded what would become Hope Happens in 2002. Initially the family foundation focused on raising funds to support research into the causes and cures for ALS, the disease with which Chris was diagnosed in 2000 and also the disease that took the life of her father, James Maritz, in 1981. But Chris came to believe that advances in one neurological disorder could also improve care for others and so the foundation broadened its mission. In November of 2004, just months before Chris succumbed to the disease, Hope Happens partnered with Washington University to launch the Hope Center for Neurological Disorders at Washington University in St. Louis, a research center dedicated to speeding the process of translating basic scientific discoveries into therapies and cures.
It is hard to measure the depth of Jean’s determination to realizing Chris’s dream of finding treatments and a cure for ALS and other neurological disorders. Her generosity led to the establishment in 2007 of the Christopher Wells Hobler Laboratory for ALS Research at the Hope Center, under the leadership of Dr. Timothy Miller. Jean also inspired others to give generously to the mission of Hope Happens, and she also contributed in many other ways, both great and small, to the organization. In 2013, in recognition of her courage, dedication, and outstanding commitment to increasing awareness of ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases, Jean was given the Spirit of Hope Award from Hope Happens.
Jean leaves behind an incredible legacy of leadership and generosity and will be remembered for her thoughtfulness, graciousness, and kindness.