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Donald Leo Hobart, 86, of Leona Valley, California, passed away peacefully in his sleep on February 23, 2018 at Americana Residential Care Facility for the Elderly in Palmdale, California.
Don was born on June 5, 1931 in Los Angeles, California to Leo and Alice (King) Hobart, the second oldest of 3 children. While growing up in the Los Angeles area, he attended St. Augustines in Culver City, CA. He later graduated from Canoga Park High School.
In 1948, Don joined the Navy and was honorably discharged on February 20, 1952. The very next day, he joined the Army until his honorable discharge on February 9, 1954. While in the Army, Don was stationed in Frankfort, Germany where he was recruited to play on the Army Battalion football team.
At the age of 24, Don married Joan King, in North Hollywood, CA. Together, they had 3 children, Kimberly, Donalee and Jeffrey.
In 1956, Don began a 27-year career in the Los Angeles City Fire Department. He retired in 1983.
After purchasing acreage in the community of Leona Valley, CA in 1959, Don began planting the first cherry orchard in the valley, Hobart's Cherry Orchard. Six years later in 1965, he opened as a "U-Pick" orchard with 265 trees offering 8 different varieties of cherries. Don loved Leona Valley and would later make it his home. He ran the orchard and greeted the cherry pickers for 40 years. He was an active community member in SERTOMA, the Leona Valley Historical Society, the Leona Valley Improvement Association, and the Leona Valley Cherry Growers Association. He served as Grand Marshal of the Leona Valley Cherry Festival Parade in 1988 and 2011.
Don married Patricia Nelson on Valentine's day in 1988. From this marriage, his family extended to include Patricia's 5 children.
In addition to traveling with his wife Patty, going on camping trips with family, watching sports and the Olympics on TV, as well as watch his favorite TV program, Huell Howser, Don had a passion for fresh and saltwater fishing. He also enjoyed restoring Ford Falcon automobiles and attending the national and regional car shows sponsored by The Falcon Club of America.
Don is survived by his daughters, Kimberly Hobart and Donalee Hobart, son Jeff Hobart, grandchild Joanna Hobart, step-children, Debra Bayne, Robyn Richter, Kenneth Nelson II, Cathy Petterson, many step-grandchildren and step-great grandchildren, and sisters Mary Alice Parrell, and Rosemarie "Bunny" Smith. He is preceded in death by his wife, Patricia. his parents, and the mother of his children, Joan King Hobart.
Funeral services will be held on March 12, 2018 at Chapel of the Valley Mortuary in Palmdale, with a viewing at 10AM and service at 11AM. Following the service, there will be a "celebration of life" remembrance at the Leona Valley Community Building located at 8367 Elizabeth Lake Road, Leona Valley, CA
from Noon to 6PM.