Mr. Leo F. Hobaica, Jr.
age 68, of Los Angeles, Soreze, France and most recently of Utica, passed away on Tuesday December 30, 2014, at St. Lukes Hospital Center, with his beloved family by his side.
Leo earned his bachelors degree in Literature, Philosophy and Religion at Le Moyne College and received an MFA degree in Fibers/Mixed-Media Sculpture/Installation from Lone Mt. College, San Francisco, through Fiberworks, in Berkeley, CA. With prior teaching positions at Syracuse University, University of Hawaii, San Francisco State, Earlham College and Grant Mac Ewen (Canada), the Character Animation Program at California Institute of the Arts hired him in 1996. In 2005, he became the Assistant Dean of the School of Film & Video. Throughout Leo's career, he received many accolades and numerous awards, including a Fulbright Scholars' Grant, and spent a semester in Istanbul, Turkey, as a visiting professor.
Leo was an interesting and immensely creative soul. His dedication to everything he did was incessant from the Peace Movement of the 1960's to the San Francisco Gay Liberation Movement to modern day causes. He was a truly innovative and creative artist, who lived life to the fullest, as well as a compassionate and caring mentor. His importance as a mentor to his students is equally rivaled by his kindness as a human being. Leo supported being different and was the kind of teacher/mentor who gave students the confidence to take risks in art making.
Leo is survived by his brothers, Richard (Jennifer) Hobaica of Tarzana, CA, and Robert (Cynthia) Hobaica of Marcy; and his sisters, Frances Desiato of Utica and Therese Laffey of Indian Hill, NC. He was preceded in death by his mother and father, Isabelle and Leo F. Hobaica, Sr., of Utica. Leo also leaves his Aunt Florence Hobaica of Springfield, MA, and his Uncle Joseph Saraceno of Los Angeles, CA, as well as many nieces, nephews and cousins who will truly miss him.
We would like to thank and share our gratitude to Larry Desiato and Patty Femia for their love, help, kindness and patience during Leo's illness. We would also like to thank Leo's lifelong friends from Syracuse, Deborah Rose, Tom & Maureen Walsh, Bob & Katie Doucette and Howard Wolhandler, for their never ending affection, love and dedication. We would like to acknowledge his dear friends, Masha, Ruah, May, Ralph, Patrice, his CalArts family and his friends around the world, too many to mention. Lastly, we would like to thank the entire staff of Hematology/Oncology Associates of CNY for the amazing compassion and care that they gave Leo during his illness. The family will be eternally grateful to all those that touched his life.
Leo's family will celebrate his life and funeral Mass on Saturday, January 3, 2015, at 12:00 Noon at Mt. Carmel/Blessed Sacrament Church. The family will greet visitors at the conclusion of mass in church.
Funeral arrangements are by The Scala & Roefaro Funeral Home, Inc., 1122 Culver Ave.
Published by The Observer-Dispatch from Dec. 31, 2014 to Jan. 1, 2015.