Mary Hobbs obituary

Other lives: Dedicated homemaker who helped out in her local church and delivered Meals on Wheels

My mother, Mary Hobbs (nee Clogg), who has died aged 78 after suffering from osteoporosis, worked as a secretary at an accountancy firm, but after marrying she devoted her life to her family and the local community.

Her husband, Austin, employed by a high street bank, was posted all over the West Country – Torquay, Swanage, St Austell, Crediton, Bude, North Tawton, Shaldon – continually testing Mary’s homemaking and friendmaking skills. Her involvement with each community was established through neighbours, schools, the church, flower arranging, charities and delivering Meals on Wheels.

She was born and grew up with her elder brother, Ted, in Launceston, Cornwall, where their father, who was badly injured in the first world war, ran a sub post office with their mother. Mary was a keen dancer: the poet Charles Causley played the piano for her as she danced on stage in the town hall aged five. She married Austin, a teammate of Ted’s at Launceston rugby club, in 1957.

Her children, David, Simon and I, benefited from her devotion to us: she ferried us around town, washed football kit and prepared picnics. She could be relied upon to know the latest cricket or rugby score. The smell of baking often filled the house: once she asked the door-to-door grocer why she would buy his cakes when her own were better, and within weeks she was selling her cakes to him.

Mary was a do-it-yourself enthusiast: she made her own clothes, painted and decorated, and cut our hair with disastrous results. She loved a village show, which brought together her love of gardening, baking, community and fierce competition. She could be a practical joker: after one visit to my London home she rang to say she had left behind a pair of shoes and I ran around the house looking for them before it dawned on me that it was 1 April.

The death of David in 2000 heralded a downturn in her health, yet during her final, housebound years in Shaldon, Devon, cared for by Austin, friends and excellent teams of local carers, she revealed a remarkable ability to cope and adjust to her changing circumstances with dignity and humour.

She is survived by Austin, Simon, me and seven grandchildren.

James Hobbs

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Tom Hobbs obituary
Other lives: He built a personal archive of newspaper obituaries that became known to scholars and aficionados of the art worldwide

Nigel Starck

23, Mar, 2010 @6:44 PM

Article image
Diana Wallace obituary
Other lives: Social worker who was guided by her Christian faith

Hilary Hinds

22, Mar, 2017 @6:29 PM

Article image
Pat Finnon obituary
Other lives: Charity manager, counsellor and lifelong volunteer

Brendan Marsh

13, Jan, 2016 @4:56 PM

Article image
Helen Cunningham obituary

Other lives: Dedicated occupational therapist who worked in West Africa and Britain

Philip Cunningham

13, Feb, 2013 @12:46 PM

Article image
Marjorie Dykins obituary
Other lives: Teacher and volunteer who contributed towards the setting-up of the Welsh Assembly

Jane Dodds

15, Nov, 2015 @4:06 PM

Article image
Guinevere Boyd obituary
Other lives: Dedicated teacher at a school for disabled children

Tim Boyd

04, May, 2016 @2:25 PM

Article image
Winifred Scott obituary

Other lives: Magistrate and prison visitor who was a keen gardener well into her 90s

Judith Scott

15, Sep, 2013 @11:36 AM

Article image
Margaret Joseph obituary
Other lives: Lifelong Labour party member and campaigner

Alison Joseph

20, Jun, 2016 @4:59 PM

Article image
Chandran Owen obituary
Other lives: Equality and diversity campaigner who helped facilitate consumer boycotts of South Africa

Rosemary Rosser

12, Jan, 2016 @11:49 AM

Article image
Jack Heery obituary
Other lives: Merseyside teacher, trade unionist and political activist

David Porteous

13, Jan, 2016 @11:41 AM