Marion J. Hobbs, 75

Public housing minister

January 13, 2008|By Sara Neufeld

The Rev. Marion Joseph Hobbs, who ministered to residents of a public housing complex in Northeast Baltimore, died of kidney failure and congestive heart failure Jan. 5. He was 75 and a resident of Eastpoint Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Dundalk.

A Baltimore native known as Joe, Mr. Hobbs served in the Maryland National Guard and the Army reserves. He worked for many years assembling and repairing furniture for the office supply chain Lucas Brothers Inc. He also worked part time for Dawn's Office Supply Co.

He had two daughters and a son during his first marriage, which ended in divorce. In 1969, he married Joyce Maxine Bawgus, with whom he had three daughters. He and his second wife met through their church.

After Joyce Hobbs died of cancer in 1986, Mr. Hobbs raised the three girls - ages 10, 13, and 15 at the time - by himself.

"He took over the role of being mother and father as best he could," said the middle of the three daughters, Suzanne Kae Hobbs of Sykesville. "He worked a lot of long hours, but he was always there for us, no matter what."

Mr. Hobbs raised his family in several Baltimore neighborhoods before moving to Dundalk and then Essex. After his health began to decline in the late 1990s, he lived with a granddaughter in the city for a few years before moving in 2001 to the nursing home where he died.

He loved to sing at church and, his daughter said, he had a "beautiful tenor voice." He also enjoyed watching old movies, especially those with music. The Sound of Music was a favorite.

Mr. Hobbs was the mission pastor at the Claremont public housing high-rise, leading services for residents from 1974 until the late 1990s. His ministry was sponsored first by Lee Street Memorial Baptist Church and later by Second & Fourth Baptist Church.

Services have been held.

In addition to Suzanne Hobbs, he is survived by daughters Sharon Sue Alley of Clinton, Tenn., Chlora Jo Thomas of Brooksville, Fla., Esther Jenell Nukolczak of St. Leonard and Sarah Jeanette Hamilton of Baltimore. His son, Brooks Overton Hobbs Sr., predeceased him. Also surviving are numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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