Johnnie Alvin Hobbs Jr. was born July 6, 1926 in Aspermont, Texas to Johnnie Alvin and Jewell Harrison Hobbs. The eldest child and only son was soon joined by four sisters, Mildred, Mary, Juanita and Beatrice. Johnnie moved to Big Spring, Texas, where he would reside for the rest of his life, as a young man.|
At the age of 17, Johnnie began working for the Cosden Refinery. He joined the United States Army during World War II and was honorably discharged. Upon returning to Big Spring, he met Frances Faye Vincent and they married on Aug. 14, 1948. Johnnie and Faye had three children, Leon, Anita and Karen.
After Johnnie met the first love of his life, he soon met the second, Little League Baseball. He began coaching as an assistant before any of his own children were born. His first team as a head coach was the Coca-Cola Cubs. The name was soon changed to the Coca-Cola Colts. Johnnie became the standard by which little league was measured in the city of Big Spring. He loved his second family just like they were his first. The boys of summer were too numerous to count in the 40 years he spent pitching batting practice, but even at the end of his life, he was able to replay games and call out the names of his players. After four decades of dedicating himself to the American Little League and the Coca-Cola Colts, he packed up his glove and the team you wanted to be on was now only a beautiful memory and enduring legacy.
Johnnie retired from the Cosden Refinery in 1981. He spent most mornings after that at the donut shop with his buddies. After several years in retirement, he became the owner and "howdy, pardner" greeter at Cowboy's Steakhouse, which he owned until passing it on to his son in 2004.
Johnnie headed home on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015, under the watchful and loving care of the Big Spring Center for Skilled Care and Home Hospice. Services will be Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015, at 2 p.m. at Family Faith Victory Center, 810 E. 11th Place in Big Spring. The family will receive visitors from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, October 2, at Nalley-Pickle and Welch Funeral Home.
Johnnie is survived by his three beloved children and their spouses, Johnnie Leon Hobbs and wife, Frances; Anita Faye Cline and husband, John; and Karen Kay Leonard and husband, Mike. He also had eight adoring grandchildren, Kimberly Pierce and husband, Greg; Derek Hobbs and wife, Krystal; Stephanie Gilbert and husband, Garland; Whitney Henderson and Johnny, Krystal Walden; Aaron Henderson and wife, Brittany; and Kristan Sweatt and husband, Brandon. He was also blessed with 19 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandsons. Johnnie also has his loving sisters, Mary Dunbar and Beatrice Weaver and husband, James, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
Johnnie was preceded in death by his father and mother, as well as his wife, Faye. He was also preceded by his sisters, Juanita Lee and Mildred Lea.
Pallbearers will be Bill Burchett, Jack Bowen, Harlen Morgan, Amanda Solis, David Agee, Jimmy Wilson, Ricky Robertson and Dwight Perkins and honorary pallbearers include every former Coca-Cola Colt, American League player and All-Star member.
The family suggests memorial be made to Little League International at www.littleleague.org/learn/about/donations.htm
Johnnie has now completed his turn at bat. His life was truly a grand slam. Heaven is his home plate with his Savior, Jesus Christ waiting to welcome him with open arms. Heaven has found its coach!
Arrangements under the direction of Nalley-Pickle & Welch Funeral Home & Crematory of Big Spring. Online condolences may be made at: www.npwelch.com
Published in Big Spring Herald on Oct. 2, 2015