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Ventura County










            Mrs. Grace (Hobson) Smith, the wife of Fred W. Smith of Ojai, is one of California’s native daughters and belongs to an old and honored family of Ventura county.  She is a graduate of the University of California and a member of Phi Beta Kappa.  Her activities and interests have been along philanthropic and educational lines.  Especially has she been interested in the academic and musical education of the three Smith children, Rodney Hobson, born July 29, 1918; Barbara Barnard, born June 10, 1920; and Helen Margaret, born March 12, 1922.  Mrs. Smith has for the past six years actively assisted her husband in closing the large estate of her father and in carrying out all of his expressed wishes.  Mr. Smith has successfully participated in Ventura business life since 1917, associated with the Hobson Brothers Packing Company of which he has been president since 1929 and also with other enterprises.  He has aided all civic movements and successfully served his terms as President of the local Lions Club and of the Chamber of Commerce, having become a definite and important factor in the city’s recent development.

            Abram Lincoln Hobson, the father of Mrs. Grace (Hobson) Smith, was born in Ventura, California, March 22, 1861, a son of Wm. Dewey Hobson and Isabel Jane (Winemiller) Hobson, of whom more extended mention is made elsewhere in this work, and attended the public schools, also having his father as an instructor.  At the age of sixteen he became associated with the latter in the packing industry and in the retail sale of meat and four years later purchased his father’s interest in the business, admitting his brother, the late William A. Hobson, to a partnership therein.  In continuing the enterprise they were actuated by the high standards instituted by its founder, and later they organized the Hobson Brothers Packing Company and the Santa Barbara Packing Company, of which corporation Abram L. Hobson was the president.  These two brothers accumulated large real estate holdings and became the largest dealers in livestock in this part of the state.  They were also engaged extensively in street paving, ranking with the leading firms of the kind in the west, and were awarded many large contracts, one of their outstanding achievements being the construction of the great gravity sewer outlet in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Thorough and conscientious, the Hobson brothers excelled in everything they undertook and counted among their most valuable assets an unassailable reputation for honesty and dependability.  After the death of William A. Hobson, Abram L. Hobson conducted the business alone for a number of years, manifesting in its control rare judgment and keen powers of discernment.  He was also interested in other enterprises, all of which contributed to the growth and prosperity of his community.

            Mr. Hobson was married to Miss Helen Barnard, a daughter of W. E. Barnard, who was the first president of the University of Washington, at Seattle.  Later Mr. Barnard opened a real estate office in Ventura, also conducting a lumber business here, and subsequently removed to Oakland, California.  In their youth Mr. and Mrs. Hobson were schoolmates.  They became the parents of two sons and a daughter:  Harold, deceased; William W., who died at the age of thirteen years; and Grace, the wife of Fred W. Smith.  Mr. Hobson found his greatest happiness in the society of his wife, his children and three grandchildren.  A York Rite Mason, he belonged to Ventura Lodge F. & A. M.; Ventura Chapter, R. A. M.; and Ventura Commandery K. T.   He also had fraternal connections with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Knights of Pythias and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.  A Member of the Rotary Club, he lived up to its motto of “Service before self,” and at one time was president of the Ventura Chamber of Commerce.  In his younger days, Mr. Hobson was active in athletic sports, serving as captain of the old Silver Star baseball team.  He was an ardent fisherman and also enjoyed horseback riding.  With a Keen zest for life, he made the most of it day by day, always regarding his citizenship as a primary obligation.  In social intercourse he was genial, sincere and sympathetic, while in business he was the personification of its highest ethics, and in his passing on March 7, 1929, Ventura sustained the loss of one of her most loyal, progressive and best loved citizens.  His wife followed him in death, November 20, 1930.





Transcribed by Joyce Rugeroni.

Source: California of the South Vol. V, by John Steven McGroarty, Pages 574-576, Clarke Publ., Chicago, Los Angeles,  Indianapolis.  1933.

© 2013  Joyce Rugeroni.