Hobdy funeral set for Saturday

Funeral services for Mary Alyce Scott Hobdy will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at New Rocky Valley Baptist Church in Grambling. She was 84 years old.She died Thursday, April 16 following a bout with cancer.

Hobdy was the personal secretary to GSU’s second president, R.W. E. Jones, and executive assistant to GSU presidents Joseph Johnson and Harold Lundy. She was the wife of the late legendary GSU basketball coach, Fredrick C. Hobdy.

“I hear them talk all the time in Grambling about legends,” said former GSU president Joseph Johnson. “She is a true legend of Grambling. In 43 years (at GSU), she certainly made a great contribution not only to the university, but to the community.”
Johnson said her understanding of the importance of education was one of the major things that she should be recognized for.
“She understood what education meant for a black child,” Johnson said. “Without education, she knew it would almost be impossible for the child to survive.”
Johnson said, “You have to understand that in her quiet demeanor, she had a great intellect.”

“She really was an outstanding scholar, teacher, administrator and a church worker,” said Ruby Billups, former GSU registrar. “Mrs. Hobdy was a very fine person. She loved people and she helped everybody that she could.”

Hobdy said this quality was apparent in her longtime job in the president’s office. In addition to her writing and intellectual skills, she said Hobdy’s greatest strength was her ability to work with people.
“Over the 12 years Mrs. Hobdy supervised me in the President’s Office, she became more than a supervisor, she was my mentor,” said Janis Bluford, a top assistant in the president’s office. “She was a very compassionate person who believed in excellence, and she exemplified that quest for excellence in every area of her life. Her professionalism and the way in which she interacted with people endeared me to her.”
She was also a role model and mentor to Judy Jackson, who is the special assistant to the president at GSU.

Jackson said Hobdy was like a mother to her and Bluford. “We were young when we came,” Jackson said.

“She guided us as women,” said Jackson. “I didn’t have a mother.” Her mother died when she was 8 years old.

Jackson said Hobdy always encouraged others to go forward and gave them advice. She said Hobdy was persistent to whatever task assigned. This was evident even in her final days when her health was declining.
“She just didn’t give up,” said Jackson. “Even when she got so sick she was always upbeat. Some people would have lain down. She didn’t do that. When I would go and see her and when I would leave, I was upbeat.”
Another former co-worker and neighbor, Dr. Leon Whittaker, also talked about her strong will and persistence as a board member of the Louisiana Purchase Council, a 20 parish governing body for the Boy Scouts of America.
“She had a lot of stamina,” said Whittaker, a local minister, who is also a board member. “She would go to the meetings on a cane.” She attended board meetings as late as last fall.

Hobdy was a staunch supporter of the council and worked for many years with Cub and Boy Scout groups in Grambling. Because of her works with the scouts, she received the Silver Beaver, the highest award given to a volunteer by the council.

Hobdy came to Grambling in 1950 from Meridian, Miss., where she was a secretary and English teacher at T.J. Harris Sr. High School. At Grambling, she was secretary to Earl Lester Cole, dean of then Grambling College, Dr. E. L. Cole.

Her tenure in the president’s office began in 1956 when she was secretary to President R.W.E. “Prez.” Jones until he retired in 1977. She continued to work in the President’s Office as executive assistant under presidents Joseph Johnson and Harold Lundy. From 1975 to 1977, she also was a part-time English teacher at GSU.

Also at GSU, she worked on the Founder’s Day committee, the GSU Hall of Fame committee, edited publications among many other tasks. She retired from GSU in 1993 with 42 years of service.

In 1996, she was inducted into the GSU Hall of Fame. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the Monroe-Grambling chapter of the Links, Life Member of the Tougaloo College National Alumni Association, New Rocky Valley Baptist Church and the Friends of the Eddie G. Robinson museum committee.
She was the daughter of Ben and Nancy Johnston in Mendenhall, Miss. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from Tougaloo (Miss.) College and a master’s degree in English education from Louisiana Tech University. She did further study in journalism at Lincoln University in Missouri and in English at the University of Iowa.