David Clark Hobson died peacefully Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020, at FirstHealth Hospice House, in Pinehurst, after a 2 ½-year, courageous, hard-fought battle with pancreatic cancer.
He was preceded in death by his father, William McDuffy Hobson; his mother, Sally Alese Tart Hobson; and his wife, Anne Alphin Hobson.
David was fortunate to have had two wonderful marriages, to two beloved and loving wives: Anne, to whom he was married 37 years until her death; and Carole, with whom David celebrated their sixth wedding anniversary this past February. Carole survives him. David is also survived by his children, Deborah Clark Hobson (Patrick), Shannon Godwin Bowen (Jeff), and Kenan Godwin (Julia); 10 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren; his brother Willie Hobson (Judy), his brother Donald Hobson, and his sister Lucy Hobson; several nieces, nephews, and cousins; and by his and Carole’s beloved Dachshunds Aani and Lulu. David also enjoyed a special, very close and longtime friendship with David and Tonya Brown.
David was born in Charleston, S.C., on Oct. 30, 1943. Shortly after his birth, David and his family moved to Dunn. He attended the Dunn public schools and graduated with honors from Dunn High School in 1962. In high school David was involved in multiple extracurricular activities, foremost of which was his first-chair trumpet position in the Dunn High School Band. He attended Long Branch Free Will Baptist Church and was an Eagle Scout in the Long Branch-sponsored Boy Scout Troop.
David attended North Carolina State University, graduating in 1968 with a degree in forestry and park management. Following graduation, David began his career as a park manager with the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, a young and promising agency that had purchased 2,500 hundreds of acres of land to be preserved for use by the citizens of Northern Virginia.
In 1972, David became director of administration, and in 1976, director of capital programs. In these capacities he took the lead role in land acquisition and in obtaining federal and state grants. Upon his retirement in 1999, the Park Authority’s land holdings totaled over 10,000 acres and, under David’s direction, had received more than $80 million in grant money. (Grayson Hanes, a distinguished land use and eminent domain attorney in the Washington, D.C., area, who represented the Park Authority during David’s tenure, commented at David’s retirement ceremony that David knew more about the legalities of land acquisition, negotiating with landowners, and writing land acquisition contracts than all the lawyers in D.C. and the surrounding areas.)
The capstone of David’s career was attained in 1996, when he became executive director of the Park Authority, directing and overseeing the management and operation of a system of 19 regional parks, with a $19.5 million annual budget, in the Washington, D.C., area, including Arlington County, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls Church. David’s favorite project, the crowning achievement of his 31 years with the Park Authority, and the project of which he was most proud, was the acquisition and development of the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park, a 45-mile abandoned rail line, winding through Northern Virginia and stretching from the city of Alexandria to Purcellville in Loudoun County.
The W&OD trail was likely the most challenging project ever undertaken by the Park Authority, and it required a lot of teamwork, coordination and effort from a lot of people. The park became a model for the nation’s rails-to-trails movement. Today approximately 3 million pedestrians, cyclists, skaters and equestrians annually use and enjoy the trail.
David was a member of the select American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration, an organization of distinguished practitioners and scholars committed to the advancement of the park and recreation field.
After David retired from the Park Authority, he and Anne moved to Pinehurst. There, David took up golf, and he and Anne began discussing their longtime dream to promote and preserve the use of “old-time,” sacred hymns in Christian ministry and worship. They came up with the idea of a project to establish a Christian music education center in a Bible college near Dunn, where both David and Anne had grown up. Sadly, when Anne died in 2012, it appeared that the project had died with her.
However, their dream remained with David, and several years after Anne’s death, the project was resurrected and revised into a much larger project, and in the spring of 2018, David teamed with Campbell University in funding the complete renovation of Campbell’s antiquated Turner Auditorium in the D. Rich Building, transforming the old auditorium into a beautiful, state-of-the-art concert hall. This new concert hall would be named the Hobson Performance Center, dedicated to the memory of Anne and to David and Anne’s shared passion for Christian music ... for all music. The Center was dedicated on Nov. 14, 2019, with a full-house inaugural concert performed before nearly 1,000 special guests, family and friends.
David was the consummate good citizen. He loved and served the communities in which he lived. He loved and served the different churches where he worshipped-most important among those churches were Grove Presbyterian Church, which he attended as a very young child and where he first learned of his Lord and Savior, and Long Branch Free Will Baptist Church, which he attended throughout his high school and college years.
David loved and served his fellow man. His persona was quiet and reserved; he was slow, if ever, to anger. He was kind, compassionate and generous. Finally, his intellect and intelligence were at the highest levels, and his wit and sense of humor were unbounded.
The service to celebrate David’s life will be private. A videotape of the service may be viewed, on or after Aug. 6, at www.skinnerandsmith.com/obituaries (view David’s obituary; then click on Tribute Wall).
David requested that, in lieu of flowers, memorial donations be made to the Foundation of FirstHealth/Hospice and Palliative Care, 150 Applecross Road, Pinehurst, NC 28374. Condolences may be shared and viewed online at www.skinnerandsmith.com.
Arrangements are in the care of Skinner and Smith Funeral Home, Dunn.