Frank D (“Don”) Hobson, 79, died December 27, 2022 at home, deeply aware that he was surrounded by love and friendship. Don was born on October 21, 1943 in Belle Glade, Florida on the shores of Lake Okeechobee. He was the eldest of three children born to Frank and Libby Hobson.
In his boyhood Don spent his time in the outdoors hunting, fishing and “exploring.” Since Don’s parents were both educators, he and his siblings enjoyed lengthy summer vacations with their parents in the family station wagon. These trips sparked Don’s love of travel and a visit to an uncle in California one summer convinced him he wanted to eventually move to the west.
An offer for Don’s father to become principal of the newly constructed Forest Hill High School in West Palm Beach, Florida introduced Don to new side of life in south Florida and activities such as water skiing and beach combing. From those days, Don never stopped loving the ocean but his fascination with the water’s edge expanded to include many landscapes, including the tiny streams and high mountain lakes of Idaho.
After completing his undergraduate college career at the University of Florida, Don joined the Peace Corps and was assigned to the Philippines where he worked with local schools for two years. He valued the cultural experience of living among the people and having access to an amazing natural land and sea scape to explore. His journey home to the United States qualified as one of the great adventures of his life. Armed with an “open ended” Air France ticket that would take them anywhere they wanted to go (so long as they passed through France) he and a fellow Peace Corps volunteer spent weeks exploring Thailand, Cambodia, India, and Europe.
Eventually after his adventure abroad, Don pursued a teaching career in south Florida, but he still harbored the ambition to live in the west. Fortunately, the National Science Foundation’s summer education for teachers’ program afforded him the chance to continue to travel—taking him one summer to Maine and, in the summer of 1970, to Pullman, Washington.
Arriving in eastern Washington, Don was surprised to find that Pullman did not resemble the forested, snowcapped Pacific Northwest of his imagination. But he soon realized the Palouse was uniquely beautiful in its own way. And, it was in Pullman that he met Mary Stiles—who would become his wife of more than fifty years. Theirs was a bit of a whirlwind romance and Don and Mary were married on October 17,1970-- a little more than four months after they met.
After a year’s teaching assignment on the east coast, Don and Mary moved west. They spent the next several years living in Pullman and pursing their educational goals. Don obtained a graduate degree in soils science while Mary graduated from law school at the University of Idaho. Don’s work in soils science took him to Mount Rainier National Park where he spent a wonderful summer doing research and developing another passion: mountain hiking.
In 1977 the couple migrated south to Boise which became their permanent home. Don’s position with the Bureau of Land Management in southern Idaho took him deep into the Owyhee Mountains where he found the vistas and the delicate desert plant life a new inspiration. But eventually Don concluded he wanted work that would keep him closer to home. He studied accountancy at Boise State University and became a Certified Public Accountant. After a time in private practice, Don joined the US Trustee’s Office, using his accounting expertise in working with the bankruptcy court.
People who knew him invariably described Don as “mellow.” That was accurate. He was even tempered and unfailingly kind. But he was also entirely his own man. He didn’t bother to argue or disagree, he just quietly followed his own star. And whatever he chose, he pursued with energy and determination.
One such project was his Boise home. Not satisfied with simply buying a “starter home,” after leaving college, Don found an aging Queen Ann style house that was scheduled for removal from downtown Boise. A suitable lot needed to be found and the building moved in a short time. Don diligently pulled the pieces of the project together and then spent years patching plaster, refinishing woodwork, and turning a “junker” into a lovely home. Don planted trees and roses, built hardscape and planted perennial beds. He used his soils science background to transform the local clay and raise an abundant vegetable garden. An accomplished cook, he turned the produce into delicious meals that were shared with family and friends.
Throughout his life Don continued to pursue his love of travel, visiting well over 40 countries. Wherever he went Don found beauty and something to admire in the people he met. At home he explored the outdoors with enthusiasm-- camping, hiking, backpacking, skiing, canoeing and rafting. At home and abroad he took beautiful photographs.
For Don, his family came first. He and Mary shared a true partnership that allowed each to be themselves with the full support of the other. When his son was born, Don did everything to share his life and wisdom with him. Nothing brightened his last years like a visit from granddaughter Amelia. Don also cherished his friends.
Don was a deeply spiritual man. He was a faithful member of the parish at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Boise. His last outing was to St Michaels to see his granddaughter in a Christmas pageant
Don is survived by his wife, Mary, son Hunter, granddaughter Amelia, sister Beth, brother-in-law John and his wife Shelley, sister-in-law Janice, and several nieces and nephews. Services are being planned at St Michael’s Cathedral in Boise.