Cover photo for Elizabeth DeKay's Obituary
Elizabeth DeKay Profile Photo

Elizabeth DeKay

July 20, 1918 — February 8, 2023

Elizabeth DeKay

Elizabeth Ann DeKay, 104, life-long Atlantic resident, passed peacefully in her sleep at Heritage House on February 8.

She was born July 20, 1918, the daughter of Carl E and Grace Hoffman.  She had one sibling, Virginia May Hoffman, also of Atlantic. 

Elizabeth graduated from Atlantic High School in 1935.  She attended the two-year Ward-Belmont School (now Belmont University) in Nashville, Tennessee, graduating in 1937.  Later, majoring in journalism, she attended and graduated from the University of Iowa in 1939.  While in Iowa City, she met her to-be husband, Harold George DeKay, a student at the School of Law.

Elizabeth and Harold married on August 6, 1944, and moved from Chicago to Atlantic.  Here, they had a son, Sam Hoffman, on May 6, 1948.  From 1954 until 1974, she served as Secretary for the Cass County Selective Service Board.  In this capacity, she often assisted young men to determine their draft status and also to make application to those military programs which most appropriately matched their skills and interests.

She served on the FACT Foundation, the association responsible for establishing Atlantic’s Community Center.  For many years Elizabeth was a member of the board of the Atlantic Public Library.  During her tenure, she served with Board President Ann Wickman and assisted with the library’s physical expansion.

Elizabeth has resided at Heritage House for twelve years.  In that time, she has created a new family, the many staff members who treated her with great caring and respect.

She is preceded in death by her parents, sister, and husband.  Elizabeth is survived by her son and his wife, Della (Taylor); they reside in New York City.

Her passion was live theatre—musical and dramatic performances.  While a student in the Atlantic High School, she spent summers at the University of Iowa’s Summer Theatre Camp.  Throughout her life, she was delighted to attend productions in all the grand theatrical venues—New York, London, Stratford-upon-Avon, Chicago.  But she was also fond of some lesser-known stages—in Springfield, Missouri, and, of course, the Atlantic High School Auditorium.  Her philosophy of life is perhaps best summed by the final lyric of Irving Berlin’s great anthem for Broadway, “There’s No Business Like Show Business”: “Let’s go on with the show!”

In keeping with her love of the local library, please honor her life with a donation to the Atlantic Public Library.  Elizabeth Ann was a member of the library board for many years, and the library was a central part of her life. 

A private service to Celebrate Her Life will be held.

 Roland Funeral Service is caring for Elizabeth's family and her arrangements.  Condolences may be left at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Elizabeth DeKay, please visit our flower store.


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