Delightful Dancers From D.C.: The Anne Davies And Carleton Hoffner Jr. Story

U.S. Ice Dancing Champions Anne Davies And Carleton Hoffner Jr.
Photo courtesy "Skating" magazine

Born December 21, 1930 and April 23, 1931, Anne Maxwell Davies and Carleton Crosby Hoffner Jr. both came from military families. Carleton's father was a Rear Admiral who was on active duty with the U.S. Navy in Hawaii when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941. Anne's father was on active domestic service during World War II at Camp Pendleton in California.

Anne and Carleton met at the Washington (D.C.) Figure Skating Club as youngsters. They were  primarily coached by Norval Baptie, but worked with Howard Nicholson and Nancy Allard in Lake Placid in the summers. Their first 'big break' as skaters came at the 1944 Middle Atlantic Championships, when they defeated fifteen other couples to win the Silver Dance event. Never before in the history of the event had a twelve and thirteen year old won the title. As tests passed (not age) decided who qualified for the event, some of their competitors were twice their age. They went on to finish second in Silver Dance at that year's Eastern Championships. The following year at the Middle Atlantics, they were second in senior pairs and first in Gold Dance. Carleton won the junior men's title as well. Anne was also a talented singles skater, placing fifth out of twenty four entries in the novice women's event at that year's Eastern Championships. They won their first of many medals - a bronze in dance - at that year's U.S. Championships.

Anne Davies And Carleton Hoffner Jr.
Photo courtesy "Skating" magazine

At the ages of fourteen and fifteen, Anne and Carleton made history in 1946 as the youngest winners of the U.S. dance title and only the third and fourth skaters from D.C. to win a gold medal at the U.S. Championships in any discipline. Anne and Carleton also made history two of the first dozen skaters to pass the USFSA's Gold Dance Test. Anne was the youngest of the bunch and Carleton was the first double Gold Medallist, passing both Gold Dance and his Eighth Test in figures. In his book "Skating In America", ISU Historian and USFSA President Benjamin T. Wright recalled, "The quality of the compulsory dances of Davies and Hoffner was such that upon completion of their Kilian, the audience refused to permit the competition to continue until they did an encore, certainly an unprecedented occurrence in competition."

Anne Davies And Carleton Hoffner Jr.

In the years that followed, Anne and Carleton won the bronze medal at the 1949 U.S. Championships in pairs skating, two medals in ice dance at the North American Championships and six more medals at the U.S. Championships in pairs and dance, including the U.S. junior pairs title in 1948. Most remarkable was their bronze medal win in dance at the 1949 North American Championships in Philadelphia. Anne had been hospitalized with a serious kidney infection and actually checked herself out to compete but was so ill the next day that they had to withdraw from the pairs event. Anne and Carleton's skating career ended in 1951. They had been practicing in Baltimore with hopes of competing at that year's U.S. Championships, but Carleton's schedule at the United States Naval Academy had made it impossible for them to have enough time to really practice.

Photograph of U.S. Ice Dancing Champion Carleton Hoffner Jr.
Carleton Hoffner playing tennis at the United States Naval Academy

Carleton had graduated from high school at the top of his class and enrolled as a midshipman in the University Of Virginia's National Reserve Officer Training Corps program before attending the United States Naval Academy. When he wasn't skating, he was playing tennis and squash competitively or strumming his ukelele. Anne attended Woodrow Wilson High School, where she was an enthusiastic member of the cheerleading squad. She modelled clothing for a local department store.

Anne Davies with members of the Woodrow Wilson High School cheerleading squad
Anne Davies with members of the Woodrow Wilson High School cheerleading squad

Anne married Robert Sinnette Rieley, an office manager with the Blake Construction Company of Washington, D.C., in 1950. She moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana when her husband took a job as the manager of the State Public Welfare Building. An avid gardener, swimmer and golfer, she wrote to "Skating" magazine in 1955, "Marriage, children, just plain homemaking... I really enjoy every minute of it. Our baby is a cute, curly-headed, red-haired fellow and is the joy of our lives." Sadly, Anne passed away on February 25, 1995 in Round Hill, Virginia at the age of sixty-three.

Carleton Hoffner (left) at the United States Naval Academy
Carleton Hoffner (left) at the United States Naval Academy

Carleton married registered nurse Connie Read on June 5, 1953, the same day he graduated from the Naval Academy. He served with the United States Navy in the Korean War, worked at the Pentagon and with the Defense Department, providing logistical support in Asia and South Pacific during the Vietnam War. His military and work duties took his family to Guam, Hawaii, Virginia and California. In the nineties, he got into politics, serving as a city councillor in Palo Alto. He passed away on April 21, 2020, two days before his eighty-ninth birthday.

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