Rhoda Joan Hopkins Root, 88, of Mystic, beloved wife of Dr Howard Frank Root, died June 18. She was born February 12, 1929, the daughter of Elsie and J. Edwin Hopkins.
Mrs Root built and operated Open Gate Farm in Newtown, as well as the Polo Grounds Shopping Center in West Palm Beach, Fla. The farm was sold in 1978. In 1979, Mrs Hopkins became the first woman to be named as huntsman to the Fairfield County Hounds, and the first woman in the country to occupy the position of professional huntsman to a recognized pack of foxhounds.
During her tenure with the Fairfield County Hounds, she brought that Penn-Marydel pack to high honors at the Bryn Mawr Hound Show, winning the Pack Class for seven consecutive years. She remained with the Fairfield as huntsman until July 1994, when she left to assume the position as huntsman to the Old Chatham Hunt Club, just south of Albany, N.Y. She remained as huntsman until her retirement in spring 2000.
Mrs Root played tennis under the direction of Mercer Beasley; toured the United States, Canada, and Mexico; and became a member of the Junior Wightman Cup Team and the Sears Cup Team. She was ranked eighth in the United States Ladies Singles; won the Canadian National Singles Championship and the Championship of Mexico; and played at Forest Hills and Wimbledon.
She married Major Frederick C. Collin in Palm Beach, Fla., in 1952. She was later married to Dr Howard Frank Root in September 2006.
A celebration of Mrs Root’s life will be at noon on Saturday, July 8, at Ram Island Yacht Club.
Donations in her memory may be made to The Ames Fund, Ram Island Yacht Club, 60 Front Street, Noank CT 06340.