Cover photo for Tila Maria Hancock's Obituary
Tila Maria Hancock Profile Photo

Tila Maria Hancock

July 28, 1936 — May 30, 2021

Leadership and Love of Life

On May 30, 2021, Tila Maria Hormazabal Hancock passed away at the age of 84. She died in her sleep at home, as was her wish. Tila is survived by her three daughters, Francesca Hancock Schuler, Manuella Hancock and Felitia Hancock as well as her son-in-law Eric Schuler, her grandchildren Aria and Will and close friend and care giver Carrie Taylor. Her surviving sisters, Maria Luz and Rosa Maria, and her brother Armando, along with family and friends on three continents share in the loss at the passing of a shining intellect and spirit.

Tila was born on July 28, 1936 in Antofagasta, Chile to Armando and Isabel Hormazabal. Tila met her husband William W. Hancock when she was living and working as a professor in Puerto Rico. They married in 1966 and moved to Washington, DC, which was Tila’s home for almost forty years, where she built her career and community of friends and family.

A force of nature who loved to entertain, Tila always opened her home to the many people she met through her life. She was particularly fond of gathering in friends and mentees who, like her, were far from their families, and holiday celebrations always included these “orphans”. An avid and gifted cook, Tila loved nothing more than sitting around a large dinner table, with good food and wine, engaging in wide ranging conversations about world events, philosophy and literature. And when she had time for quiet moments, she loved nothing more than walking on the beach, planting in her garden or reading.

Tila grew up in Concepción, Chile where, at 18, the Ministry of Education nominated her as the 1954 representative from Chile at the NY Herald Tribune Youth Forum. While working towards receiving an L.L.B. with highest honors from the University of Concepción, Chile, she did community work in urban squatter settlements. Out of this work grew her special interest in the growth of cities in developing countries. Tila returned to the United States with a Fulbright Scholarship to do graduate work in city and regional planning at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. In 1973, she received an L.L.M. from George Washington University. In 1977 she was honored with an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree (L.L.D.) from Trinity College.

Tila enjoyed a long and varied career where she regularly broke down barriers for women professionals and in leadership positions. From 1964 to 1965, she was a consultant to the Puerto Rican Department of Housing and Urban Development and served as a Lecturer and Visiting Professor at the University of Puerto Rico Law School and Urban Law School from 1965 to 1969. From 1974 to 1977, Tila served as a consultant to a wide variety of organizations and firms in Washington, DC, including the Agency for International Development, the World Bank, and the firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. In 1977, she was appointed by President Carter as Assistant to the Secretary for International Affairs to the Department of Housing and Urban Development where she served until 1981. From 1981 to 1984, Tila served as the first woman and Hispanic Director of the Secretariat of the International Court of Arbitration at the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris, France. Upon returning to the US, she continued work as a consultant in her areas of expertise to a number of organizations and law firms in the Washington, DC area.

A lover of music, culture and travel, Tila often volunteered in her areas of passion, supporting organizations such as the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Folger Consort, and Travelers Aid. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests gifts to the Folger in Washington D.C. in her name.

Arrangements are entrusted to Cassaday-Turkle-Christian Funeral Home 75 South Union Ave, Alliance, Ohio 44601.

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