It wasn’t until Hopkins returned home after serving three years in the Navy, that they met on a blind date in the fall of 1946. A few weeks later, the couple married on Jan. 19, 1947.
Over much of the next 50 years, the couple’s lives were dominated by Hopkins’ political career and work. The sports editor at The Capital, he served 24 years as an Annapolis alderman before unexpectedly winning the 1989 Democratic mayoral primary against an incumbent. He served two terms as mayor until he stepped down in 1997.
All the while, Marion was the support system for the man known as “affable Al," but she was just as passionate about protecting her husband’s mistress — Annapolis, said her daughter Barbara Hopkins.
“She didn’t mind that he had a mistress because it was a fine mistress,” she said.
Initially, she wasn’t as receptive to her husband’s political aspirations. She told him no at first when he was mulling a run for alderman. “But he kept talking about it and she said, ‘OK, get it out of your system,’" her daughter said.
Years later, in late January 1993, days after the couple celebrated their 46th wedding anniversary, the then-mayor called his wife up during a fundraiser at Loews Annapolis hotel and sang to her. He would do this from time to time as a show of public affection and appreciation, said her son Mark Hopkins.
“He really appreciated her. If he had an opportunity to do it he would pay her back in a way for all the years of her hanging in with him,” said Hopkins, who worked as a reporter at The Capital for a few years.
As a stay-at-home mother, Hopkins raised five children. She was the first to rise in the morning and made sure dinner was ready at 5 p.m. every day to fit the odd hours of Alfred Hopkins’ schedule, her son said.
She would field the seemingly endless phone calls from constituents for her husband who notoriously kept a publicly-listed phone number during his time in office. And she never complained about those who would pay calls to her house at all hours of the day, her daughter said.
“Anyone could call him at any time. People didn’t call during business hours,” she said. “She had to deal with people calling on the phone or coming to the house. She didn’t want the limelight but she supported what he did very much so. It worked.”
Marion Hopkins grew up in the affluent neighborhood of Murray Hill, the daughter of Czech immigrants. As a child, her home was filled with classical music and philosophy discussions, her son said. She became an accomplished pianist and recorded a waltz called Woodland Whispers composed by Adolph Torovsky, a former Naval Academy band leader. By the age of 15, she had visited Europe twice.
But once she met Alfred, Annapolis became her home forever.
“She was a small-town girl,” Mark Hopkins said. “She didn’t want to leave the town.”
After high school, Hopkins worked for the Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. for a year prior to attending the University of Maryland where she majored in Spanish. After her marriage, she didn’t work but for many years though she occasionally worked for the comptrollers’ office during tax season.
Though she was more reserved than her outgoing husband, Hopkins had an inner strength that often shined during trying times, her son said.
Two of the five Hopkins children died young. Alfred Michael Hopkins died on a Saturday in 1975. By Monday morning, Mark was back in homeroom at St. Mary’s school, a perplexed teacher asked why he was there.
“You’ve got your duties to fill,” Hopkins had told her younger son.
“She buried two kids and a grandkid,” Mark Hopkins said. “She had a strength.”
During an unsuccessful run for a third term in 2001, Alfred Hopkins showed a reporter more than 5,000 message slips of phone calls he had returned as mayor. And during debates, he compared his love for the city to his love for Marion.
"I am a good father, a good husband, a good family man,'' Hopkins said at the time. “I don’t run around. I just live for my family and the city.”
In the years after Alfred Hopkins left political office and his health began to wane, Marion Hopkins took care of him until he died in 2006 after a two-year struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, her son said.
“She stuck it out, didn’t complain and took care of him,” he said. “There was a bond and a love between those two. They were not going to abandon each other.”
A reception will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday at the John M. Taylor Funeral Home, 147 Duke of Gloucester St. in Annapolis. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 109 Duke of Gloucester St. Graveside service will follow at noon at St. Mary’s Cemetery, West Street.