Leo Hobbs, 85, passed peacefully at his home in Colorado Springs after complications from strokes.
Leo was born in the coalfield region of Pennsylvania, in Pottsville, to Leo S Hobbs, (a gas station/garage/boxing ring owner) and Ella Nork. His father's family arrived from Killimor, Galway, Ireland in the 1850s and his mother's in the 1870s from Lithuania during the coal mining boom.
Leo grew up in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania during the Depression where he was a boy scout, a Civil Air Patrol volunteer during WWII and attended the Shenandoah Catholic Grade School and High School. After graduating, Leo joined the Army and soon received an appointment to West Point. He studied engineering and played football, but found college ball too rough and switched to lacrosse. He said it was "like jumping from the frying pan into the fire." Upon graduation in 1954, Leo joined the Air Defense Artillery after an eye infection disqualified him from flying in the Army Air Corp. He was an Airborne Ranger. During the Cold War, he helped develop early SMART missile systems in Huntsville, Ala and built a school in Korea, served at the Pentagon, NORAD, USAREUR HQ Germany and 10 other postings. In Vietnam, he earned two Bronze stars and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with palm leaf. In 1980, he retired as a Lt. Colonel in Colorado Springs.
Leo had a life-long love affair with cars and tinkering with them starting with a 1937 Ford to a 1966 white Dodge Charger that took the family across the US and Europe. Airplanes - if he wasn't jumping out of one, he was flying his Cessna. He loved to talk about Amelia Earhart. He also tinkered with electronics and loved his loyal dogs Count and Tess. Keeping fit with diet, he enjoyed racquetball, walking, swimming and golf - the highlight a hole in one in 1999. He taught anyone willing to learn to ski. In Germany, he met the love of his life, Karen Kiehn, a graduate student studying in France. Leo beat another suitor in a ping pong match, introduced Karen to skiing in Austria, and then married her in 1959 and had two daughters.
Leo was well liked, kept his extended family connected, preferred Big Band and classical music, was well read and a devoted Catholic.
Leo is survived by his two daughters: Celeste Wood (Ken), Monica Hobbs (Gregor Huesgen); grandchildren: Brian Wood (Kesa), Ben Wood, Connor Wood (Cathy); Alexa Huesgen Hobbs, Zoe Huesgen Hobbs; a great grandson; brother Jack Hobbs. He was predeceased by his parents; his beloved wife Karen (Kiehn) Hobbs.
Visitation will be held from 5:00-7:00 p.m. on Friday, May 20, 2016 at the Shrine of Remembrance Funeral Home, 1730 E Fountain Boulevard, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80910. A Rosary will follow at 7:00 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial and full military honors will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 21, 2016 at Holy Apostles Catholic Church, 4925 North Carefree Circle, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80917.
A special thank you to his caregivers who enabled him to spend his remaining days at home. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Holy Apostles Catholic Church.
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Published by The Gazette from May 18 to May 19, 2016.