Fort Payne is mourning the loss of Doris Hobbs, who bettered her community through her media career and community service.
As a board member for the United Giver’s Fund of DeKalb County, Hobbs volunteered with UGF’s annual fundraising campaign in 1989 when she began her career at local radio station, WZOB, first as a sales manager and later as general manager. Under her leadership, WZOB was voted Best Radio Station in DeKalb County for more than 20 years.
“Doris was for more than manager for WZOB. A personal friend too. I know the Lord has welcomed a great person home,” said station owner Mike Kirby. “Doris was someone you could always count on. Through the hard times and good times, she was a treasure to have known.
“The memories will be treasured and she will surely be missed. thoughts and prayers are with Jimmy, the boys and her precious grandchildren, whom she so dearly loved!”
Hobbs, 72, was born in Huntsville and graduated from Butler High School in 1966. While majoring in music education at Jacksonville State University, she met and married her college sweetheart, Jimmy E. Hobbs, a high school band director, in 1968. The couple moved to Fort Payne in 1970, where he was band director at Fort Payne High. They have two sons, David Hobbs, a High School Band Director at Walter Wellborn High School in Anniston, and Michael Hobbs, a fifth grade teacher at Sugar Creek Elementary School in Limestone County. They have four granddaughters and one grandson.
Hobbs was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church and volunteered with the Bread of Life ministry. Over the years, she was active as a Fort Payne High School Band Booster, Plainview High School Band Booster and supporting the Cornerstone Christian Academy Band program. She served on the Board of Directors of the Fort Payne Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Directors of the Rainsville Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Directors for Spring Grove Retirement Community and the United Givers Fund Board of Directors. She was also on the Board of Directors of The Northeast Alabama Home and Garden Show in Rainsville, where she served as treasurer for 25 years. One of her favorite things was the Ms. Golden Girl Pageant at the DeKalb County V.F.W. Fair.
Fort Payne Chamber Executive Director Jennifer McCurdy said Hobbs was “the face of WZOB for over 30 years. We can't recall a time she wasn't involved in the Chamber. She was honored as the 2019 Woman in Management. We will certainly miss Doris, and her family and colleagues at WZOB will be in our thoughts and prayers.”
Hobbs made sure WZOB participated in community and school activities.
“It definitely takes everyone working together,” Hobbs said in a 2018 article. “I am proud WZOB is a big part of this. Fort Payne and DeKalb County is definitely a fine place to live and raise a family.”
Musician Russell Gulley called Hobbs “one of the pillars of our civic community” and said he appreciated how caring she was to check on him during an illness and for her support of local arts programs.
Fellow media personality Tim Dobson said he knew Hobbs long before either of them got into broadcasting.
“Jimmy and her used to be my next door neighbor when I was in the sixth grade. Wonderful people. Doris and I have had so many conversations. We worked together for many years. We remained close friends,” Dobson said.
Managing the station since 1999 wasn’t just a job for her. When The Times-Journal spoke to her this May, covering WZOB’s return to the air following Easter Sunday flooding, Hobbs described the sight of the station underwater as feeling “like losing a loved one.”
It was a triumph for her and station employees to return to the air less than a month later.
“Working at WZOB afforded me the flexibility to always be there for my children, and attend their many activities, as well as support my husband during his years as band director,” she said. “I have made many friends in all walks of life while working for the station.”