Editors Note: Mrs. Mary Hobdy, wife of Grambling legend, Fredrick C. Hobdy, made her transition to heaven today April 15,2010 at 3:18 p.m.
In September 1950, a couple came to Grambling State University for the first time. They didn’t know then that they would leave a lasting impact on the community for years to come.
It was almost ironic that Fredrick C. and Mary D. Hobdy came to GSU. Mary didn’t know what “Grambling” was.
“You probably wouldn’t believe it now, but I hadn’t heard of Grambling before,” she said.
Hobdy was looking for a job when she found out about a secretary opening from a man she called “Dr. Cole.”
She received a letter from him telling her that she had been picked for an interview in Grambling. She had no idea where she was going.
“The bus station owner told me, ‘I suggest you get a cab to Grambling,'” she reminisced.
“‘You’ll have to walk to the campus.'”
Mary eventually met Fred while she worked at Grambling. Then Fred was a high school football coach.
“I met him on campus,” she said with a smile. “We used to get together until the night was over.”
One thing led to another, and they were married on May 27, 1951.
“Forty-seven years,” she said with a tear in her eye.
For 30 years, Fred coached at Grambling State, compiling a 66.6 win percent.
And for 30 years, the home of the Hobdys was frequented by many.
“I don’t know if we ever had a day where we sat around,” said Mary, looking around the house. “Visitors were in and out all the time.”
But Mary didn’t mind. Nor did Fred.
“He loved his work,” she said.
One of the most touching moments that the Hobdys shared together came one year during a basketball game.
Grambling was playing Northwestern, and it was the first game played at Northwestern.
“This was the first night that we introduced the fight song,” she said.
The fight song was played by the World Famed Tiger Marching Band, which was under the direction of Conrad Hutchinson.
“I couldn’t sit that whole game because of what was at stake,” she said. Grambling lost the game.
Fred Hobdy died on December 8, 1998.
“He gave his all to his sports,” Mary said. “It was something he really loved doing. He would go down to see his mother after every basketball practice.
He had a lot of respect and love for his mother. I learned to appreciate that about him.”
Mary occupied her time, writing poetry. She always wanted to write, and dreamed of going to Boston University to study journalism.
She’s also written enough poems to publish a book – an idea she is considering.
Another idea she’s had on her mind is heading to one more Bayou Classic. After Fred died, she couldn’t bring herself to go without her soulmate.
“I wanted to go one more year after Hobdy died,” she said. “I didn’t have any closure because I didn’t get to go back one more year.”
She’s seen the university change before her eyes. She’s seen all of the old dorms, such as Pinchback Hall being built. She’s also seen Tiger Village. But, one thing she has seen grow is the respect of Black men, particularly Grambling men.
“People have come a long ways to respect men a lot more,” she said.
“There’s not going to be any (lack of) compassion for Black men.”
And Hobdy has an undeniable love for Grambling – and the people that she knew.