Leo F. Hobaica Jr.
Scala & Roefaro Funeral Home Inc
1122 Culver Ave
Utica, NY
Leo F.
Hobaica, Jr.
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.
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Published by The Observer-Dispatch from Dec. 31, 2014 to Jan. 1, 2015.
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29 Entries
Joining in remembering Leo Hobaica- Magnificent mentor and teacher -

I wish you safe journey onwards and Joy -

The Ho-O-Pono-Pono prayers will reach you . Thank You
Liz Krohn-Madanat
December 29, 2019
My little village in france will not be the same anymore........ i will miss you during our brocante... during our little snack... i love you
nicole martinez /bodenne
January 27, 2015
my little village in France will not be the same anymore without you... I was so lucky I met you.......I will miss you so much leo.... love you
nicole martinez - bodenne
January 27, 2015
Leo ,you lit up so many hearts -
In candles -it would be an ocean.
Extreme joy of creativit and giving -you truly have contributed to the world. Isn that what life is about.
Liz Krohn-Madanat
January 26, 2015
I read the news -with a shock - I had not been aware of Leo`s ilnessI . I was a student in Syracuse 84 and join those whose creativity was awakened by him. What a magnificent person.
I presently work as art therapist of people with special needs and got recently a book published of my students work -with Leo`s assurence. I was now looking for the address to send him the book...Liisa Krohn-Madanat,Helsinki, Finland ([email protected])
January 26, 2015
Leo changed the course of my life forever by teaching me how to be a teacher and how to make teaching a creative endeavor. He was a person who truly loved to teach, share and make the world a better place. Leo, my dear friend and mentor, I will miss you terribly and will carry your example with me always. You have changed the lives of so many young people.
Laurie O'Brien
January 19, 2015
My deepest sympathy to Leo's family.
I'll always remember my visits to Utica and spending time with my cousins.
Leo and I were born in the same year, only a few months apart. My older son and he share the same birth date.
Leo will always have a special place in my heart.
Rest in peace, my dear cousin.
Denise Hobaica Walsh
January 10, 2015
A wonderful teacher, man, and friend. He is indelibly imprinted in my soul. Godspeed, Leo.
Jocelyn Grau
January 6, 2015
Oh, my friend. I am so lucky to have met you, enjoyed your wisdom, love and excellent cooking, your sincere smile and your amazing heart. I miss you.
Kim Russo
January 5, 2015
A wonderful man who deeply touched the people he met. With an unerring artistic eye, finding young artistic talents, nurturing, nudging, and pushing them out of their little comfort zone so they could meet true art, and perhaps one day become true artists. Without him many would not have achieved what they did achieve in their lives. He will be very much missed, but the seeds he planted are growing and multiplying! Thank you so much, Leo
Vera Calabria
January 4, 2015
I just found out about Leo's passing. What an amazing soul and great teacher. I met when he was chair of Visual Arts for the California State Summer School for the Arts. He lives on in the work of so many he touched and inspired. Rest in Peace.
Michael Fields
January 4, 2015
It is with great sadness that I found out about Leo Hobaica Jr.'s recent passing a few days ago. He was such an important teacher to me, and such a trailblazer in the CalArts Character Animation department, pushing boundaries and inspiring each one of his students to be authentic artists. This picture was taken in Paris when we met up with Leo in Montmartre for a night of 80s dancing with some of my fellow classmates from Calarts. May you dance with the angels Leo! I miss you.
Brad Comfort
January 4, 2015
We are all saddened by the passing of this wonderful and inspiring friend and colleague. Leo was an gifted and caring arist and mentor who will be sorely missed and long remembered by all of us at CalArts.
Jon Gottlieb
Chair, Academic Council
California institute of the Arts
Jon Gottlieb
January 3, 2015
deep sympathy to leo's family. Larry Wolhandler
January 3, 2015
Leo was a ray of sunshine in our lives here. I will miss him terribly, every day. He brought beauty and wonder to all.

Suzanne Snadecki, Soreze, France
January 3, 2015
To all the Hobaica family and friends,
Our dear Leo is at peace now. We shared so many memories though the years. He was the best man at our wedding in 1968, and we lived together in Syracuse for a while. I remember him holding our firstborn, Leah, who is now 43. We kept in touch over the years, with visits in LA, San Francisco, CA beaches, and Phoenix, as well as reunions in Syracuse. We will miss him dearly. Goodbye,old friend. Namaste,beloved

Maureen and Charles Hoyt
January 2, 2015
Dayle & I only knew LEO from France and shared many fine meals together and adventures on local hikes. He will long be remembered for his CAL-ARTS film festivals that he hosted en-plein-aire entertaining half the village. His enthusiasm as a weekend treasure hunter/collector is well known among all at the vide-greniers. Most of all we'll miss Leo's unusual personality and lazer focus lens on those things everyone else would not see at all! Our condolences to all his family and relatives.
Dan & Dayle Neal-Doroshow
January 2, 2015
Richard,Robert,Frances and Therese. My condolences. A classmate of Leo from 1963. Notre Dame , Utica NY

Bob Mahaney
Buffalo NY
January 2, 2015
He was beloved by every one who had the chance to meet him. I am so sorry.
All my thoughts to Rich, Rob, and his sister who took such great care of Leo.
Monique Stern from FRANCE
January 2, 2015
"Born to amuse, to inspire, to delight
Here one day
Gone one night"
Helen Figueroa
January 2, 2015
Incredibly sad time because we have lost a fine friend, educator and a wonderful human being.
Thank you, Leo, for your elegance in sharing with us all that is beautiful and wonderful in a world where you saw such.
Betty Lee
January 2, 2015
Leo was a great mentor, teacher, and most of all - Friend. I'll miss him with all my heart for ever. Good bye my friend. I will never forget you and always appreciate the time we had together. Well done, Sir.
Dave Creek
January 2, 2015
I send me heartfelt condolences to Leo Hobaica Jr. Family and friends. I was a student at Inner City Arts, animation program in los angeles when I met Leo, he was to be our instructor but turned into more than an instructor. He was a great mentor, friend and wonderful human being. He encouraged his students to do the impossible and think outside the box, and when he said we couldnt we showed him we could. I guess it was his way of pushing us to take that leap of courage. He became not only my teacher and frien but also teacher/friend to my brother, sister, best friend (who took the same animation program) and mother. His kindness, warmth, loving, funny, talented nature radiated from him and you couldnt help but have the need to talk with him. I know other former students of his that feel the same about leo and have been saddened by the news of his passing. He will be truly missed.
Helen Figueroa
January 1, 2015
Hobaica Family
Please accept our deepest sympathy in the loss of Leo. NiNi was very fond of your entire family. Thoughts & Prayers are with all of you during this difficult time. Sincerely Marian & Darlene Karam
January 1, 2015
Richard, Robert and Family. Sorry to hear about Leo. My sincere condolenses.
Jim Nickley
January 1, 2015
Leo was a dear friend, a fellow Francophile, and a wonderful artist. We collaborated on many projects together and enjoyed many trips to France, with and without our CalArts students. I will miss him terribly at school and out. My heart is so broken.
Susie Allen
January 1, 2015
To the Hobaica Family, Taken too soon, but, the pain is no more. My love goes out to each and everyone of you.
Leo Lived ! Now may he rest in peace.
Sandy Montalbano
December 31, 2014
Leo F. Hobaica, Jr was the kindest, most encouraging person I have ever met. He inspired me and helped me in every possible way that he could in the twelve years that I knew him. I am so grateful to have had the honor to have called him my mentor. We have truly lost a beautiful, kind soul yesterday and I am deeply sad that he is gone. My most heartfelt condolences to his loving family.
Jennifer Penton
December 31, 2014
Leo was my teacher, my inspiration, and my hero. It is because of him I became a professor. His great sense of humor and method of conveying knowledge would light up a room full of students! Leo was always dedicated to all his students. He helped me start my career and discover my path. He will be deeply missed. But I know that God only takes the best ones for a good reason. He is up there lighting up heaven with his big blue lion eyes and warm smile.
December 31, 2014
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