Rose Imogene “Jeanie” Hobbs, 99, of Philadelphia, a longtime schoolteacher, reading specialist, pianist and entertainer, died Sunday, April 3 of Alzheimer’s disease at Bishop White Lodge in the Cathedral retirement community Town.
Raised by a teaching mother and father, Ms. Hobbs taught elementary school students in West Chester, Philadelphia and Wilmington for nearly four decades. An enthusiastic bookworm who later joined book clubs and often tore up a title as an adult, she became a reading specialist and delighted to help her young students improve their vocabulary and understanding of literature. .
“His greatest joy was seeing his students succeed,” said his son, Wil. “She was so friendly. She was their facilitator.
Ms. Hobbs was also a pianist who played the organ in church and a member of the Bell Choir. She was an artist who worked in watercolor and pen and ink, and she became an expert in embroidery and cross-stitch after her retirement.
She was active at the Chapel of the Ascension in West Chester and then at Holy Trinity Church after the segregated congregations merged into an integrated parish. She helped found a Lutheran church in Germantown when she lived in Philadelphia in the 1950s and attended St. Mary’s Episcopal Church after moving to Cathedral Village in 2000.
Ms Hobbs first taught at Gay Street School in West Chester, the elementary school she attended as a girl. Working alongside Principal Joseph Fugett, a renowned educator and civil rights activist, Ms Hobbs taught reading and second grade subjects for a decade in West Chester.
She and her husband, Wilbur E. Hobbs, moved to North Philadelphia and then to Germantown in the 1950s, and she worked with students at Smith and Emlen Elementary Schools. They lived in Cheyney in the early 1960s and she taught in Wilmington.
They moved back to Philadelphia after a few years, lived in Society Hill, and she finished her career at McCall’s Elementary School. She retired in 1982.
For a few years Mrs. Hobbs taught at the same school her son attended. And although he never had her as a teacher, he lived under the threat of being sent to her if he misbehaved. He never did.
“Those who passed through her classes remember her as a caring and patient teacher who provided fundamental educational support during their early school years,” her family said in a tribute.
Born December 19, 1922 in West Chester, Rose Denny graduated from West Chester High School in 1940 and received a bachelor’s degree in primary education from West Chester State Teachers College, now West Chester University, in 1944.
She met her husband, a classmate in West Chester, and they married in 1943 and had a son Wil in 1945. They lived in West Chester, North Philadelphia, Germantown, Cheyney, Society Hill and East Falls before Mrs. Hobbs moved to the cathedral. Village near Roxborough in 2000. Her husband died in 1992.
Ms. Hobbs loved music and enjoyed reading the works of English novelist Daphne du Maurier. She was a member and leader of the Cathedral Village Residents’ Council and a volunteer at the gift shop and library.
She enjoyed attending lectures given by residents of Cathedral Village who were retired teachers and attended performances by the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Academy of Music and the Kimmel Center. She was close to her daughter-in-law, Carolyn, and her niece, H. Lynn Starr.
“She always found ways to show her artistic expression,” her son said. Her daughter-in-law said, “She was dynamic.”
In addition to her son, daughter-in-law and niece, Mrs. Hobbs is survived by other relatives. Her partner, Junius “Bob” Haith, and a sister died earlier.
A service is to be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, May 21, at Holy Trinity Church, 212 S. High St., West Chester, Pennsylvania 19382.
Donations in his name can be made to Children first990 Spring Garden St., Suite 200, Philadelphia, PA 19123.