Donna Jean Hobson, age 77, resident of 352 South Main Street, Cambridge Springs, PA, died Friday, September 26, 2008 at Shadyside Hospital in Pittsburgh. Donna began her earthly journey in a modest frame home along the Allegheny River in Parkers Landing, Pennsylvania. She was born on August 1, 1931 to Roger and Lillian Phillips Eddinger, the first of three lovely and talented daughters. The sisters were close friends, and together, they enjoyed the people, sights and experiences of that lovely region. Following the small ????ne room???? schoolhouse of Parker, came Cranberry High School and graduation.
Donna entered Penn State University as a part-time student and worked as the secretary for the geology department. It was there that she met her future husband John P. Hobson, Jr., the son of John and Anna Lucille Hobson of Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania. John was immediately drawn to her beautiful red hair and fiery spirit, and they were married on September 5, 1953 at St. Stephens R.C. Church of Oil City.
In 1958, they left for a new home in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the ????il fields???? of the American west. There she found herself in the middle of the 1960?????s civil rights movement where she fought tirelessly for others who were unable to fight for themselves. Donna began her activism by purchasing a home with John in a segregated neighborhood in hopes of promoting multiracial integration. She then became a member of a ????atch dog???? group which placed pressure on local governments to enforce an equal accommodation ordinance that opened restaurants to everyone in a dignified manner. She also worked to place pressure on local real estate agencies and lenders, opening opportunities to all. As an active voter, she championed John F. Kennedy, writing a pamphlet entitled ????hurch and State Clarified.???? For this, she was formally thanked by JFK and his brother, Robert. She treasured these letters her whole life.
She became a devoted mother when she and John adopted their first daughter in 1967 and their second daughter in 1968. In the busy years to follow, she balanced Campfire meetings and volunteering at the school cafeteria with an interest in helping the homeless, homebound, and poverty stricken. During this time, she also took on a notorious Oklahoma parole board, and with years of effort, convinced the board to release a young woman wrongly placed on death row.
John retired in 1990, and they moved to Cambridge Springs after purchasing and restoring the century old Hobson family home. After the move, she engaged in a legal battle with the state over the placement of a prison in the town, and then dedicated her time to writing an ordinance regulating low-level radiation waste sites in the area. She coordinated local events for the Salvation Army with special dedication given to the Christmas kettle fund-raising campaign, and she was also a member of the Golden Living Center nursing home in Cambridge Spring’s women?????s auxiliary. During these years, she remained heavily devoted to her family, children and grandchildren. With her life-long interest in writing and literature, she wrote many short stories, fairy tales and letters to friends. In 2008, she began writing as the Crawford County East correspondent for the Meadville Tribune, a job she immensely loved.
Donna died in Pittsburgh, Pa on September 26, 2008 at the age of 77. She was a love-filled Christian. Jesus was her Lord and Savior. Through Him alone her physical pains were endured. Her final, soft breath came with her family holding her, courageous to the end.
She is survived by her husband – John; her daughters – Jennifer Hobson Ramchandran of Export, Pa, and Melissa Hobson Vogel of Norman, Ok; her five adoring grandchildren; one niece, two nephews; three great-nieces and nephews; and her sisters, Lucy Seaman of Sparta, NJ and Janet Boor of Emlenton, Pa.
Friends may call at the Van Matre Family Funeral Home in Cambridge Springs on Wednesday evening from 7-9 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Cambridge Springs on Thursday morning at 10:00 a.m. Monsignor Lawrence Speice will officiate. Burial will follow at Cambridge Cemetery.