Robert Lee Hobbs
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Nov. 23, 1939 - Oct. 31, 2013
Bob Hobbs, a fourth generation Merced County resident, passed away on Thursday, October 31st surrounded by his loving family in Merced.
Bob was born on Thanksgiving Day, 1939. He attended school in Dos Palos, CA and was a "Bronco" through and through. While attending Dos Palos High School he achieved "All-star" standing in all three sports, baseball, football, and basketball. Some of his athletic records still stand. As a senior, Bob was captain of the football team, the basketball team and the baseball team. He received an athletic scholarship to attend UC Berkeley, but after he completed his freshman year, his mother was diagnosed with lung cancer and he returned home to be closer to his family. He continued his education at Fresno State College and received his bachelor's degree in physical education, followed by a master's degree in counseling and a teaching credential. Bob looked forward to attending his Dos Palos High School reunion every five years and enjoyed the numerous planning sessions. He continued to support our local athletic teams and never got tired of cooking some tri-tip or making some pasta either as a fundraiser or just to feed the players.
Bob began his career as a coach at San Joaquin Memorial High School, in Fresno, CA. He then became a teacher and coach at Coalinga High School and in 1965 he became an Instructor and football coach and head baseball coach at West Hills College, and three years later added the position of Athletic Director. Bob has been inducted into the West Hills College Athletic Hall of Fame on 2 separate occasions. In 1971 Bob accepted employment at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo as an instructor, head football coach, and head baseball coach. When Cuesta eliminated their football program in 1979, Bob moved to Merced where he continued as a football coach, instructor, and counselor at Merced College. He served as the Division Chair of the Guidance Department and the Director of High School Outreach. He retired in 2002.
Bob not only loved athletics, he loved working with kids and helping them reach their potential. He was known as a mentor, and to many, his impact on their lives was tremendous. Bob could rarely walk around town without hearing, "Hey Coach" and a bear hug would follow.
Bob became a charter member of Merced Sunrise Rotary Club in 1985. He became Club President in 1999, and he served as the District Governor of District 5220 for the 2006-2007 term. In discussing what it means to be a Rotarian, Bob stated "It is my belief that what makes Rotary so unique and so powerful is its work on both a national and international level". And so began Bob's work abroad, starting with helping to create a new Rotary Club on the Sakhalin Island in Russia. As a result of this effort, he was able to host a 16 year-old exchange student, Bogdana, who became his "Russian daughter". Bob made trips to Honduras and Ecuador to deliver wheelchairs, and a short time later, he began his involvement with Merced's sister city, Somoto, Nicaragua. After re-establishing a Rotary Club so that they could qualify for matching grants from Rotary International, Bob then worked to bring the inhabitants clean water, generators for birthing units, scholarships for students, and improvements to the local hospital. He made numerous trips to Somoto, most recently to assemble and fit close to 300 wheelchairs with fellow Rotarians from District 5220. Bob worked tirelessly to "make the world a better place", and this will be his legacy.
Bob was active with the Youth Accountability Board and was a member of the Elks for close to 50 years. Bob was a member of Central Presbyterian Church and was grateful for their loving thoughts and prayers throughout his illness.
Preceding him in death are his parents, Cecil Floyd and Velma Levon Hobbs (formerly Chew), his brother Ronald, and his sister-in-law, Barbara. Bob is survived by his wife, Betsy Donovan, his children Steven (Jennifer) and Lee Anne Hobbs, Merced, CA, his brother, Richard Hobbs, Sutherlin, OR, his step-children, Stephen (Kacey) Cesar, Brentwood, CA, Jennifer (Dan) Pagano, Cortlandt Manor, NY, his nephew Richard Hobbs, Folsom, CA, his niece, Lori (John) Evilsiser, Sutherlin, OR and 9 grandchildren.
A memorial service is sheduled for Friday November 8th at 11:00 a.m., at Central Presbyterian Church, 1920 Canal Street in Merced. Internment will follow at 2:30 p.m. at the Dos Palos Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Merced Sunrise Rotary Club Charities (designated for continuing projects in Somoto,Nicaragua) Post Office Box 3262, Merced CA 95340 or to Central Presbyterian Church, 1920 Canal St., Merced, CA 95340.
Published in Merced Sun Star from Nov. 5 to Nov. 7, 2013