On July 18, 2016, we lost our beloved Harlan Haines Hobgood suddenly and unexpectedly to pneumonia. For our family, he was really our hero. He was the “rock” and the “brain” of the family, inspiring in us, and those he touched, to be the best people we could be, to serve others, and to fight for justice in this world.
Harlan was born in 1930 on a Navajo reservation in Arizona. He felt strongly about being of service to people and in that vein served as the parish minister at the Pilgrim Presbyterian Vinita Church in Oklahoma. He went on to attend to the spiritual and other needs of service men and women and their families as an officer and chaplain in the U.S. Army. In 1961, he met his wife, Catherine Vignal, recently arrived from France, on a blind date at a charity ball and instantly there were fireworks! They married in 1962 and had their first son, Nicholas, in 1964.
For the 20 years that followed, Harlan worked for the United States Agency for International Development tirelessly to improve the livelihoods, opportunities, and rights of people with little resources. He was truly remarkable in his passion, drive, and dedication to serving others. In 2002, he and Catherine discovered and settled in what they call their “Paradise,” Avila Beach, California. “When someone you love becomes a memory, that memory becomes a treasure.” And what a treasure he was!