James William “Bill” Hoback, Sr., of Chattanooga, died on Tuesday, January 15, 2013. He was 96.
Bill was born in Athens, Tn., and relocated to Chattanooga at an early age with his mother, Frances R. Hoback after his father died prematurely. He was raised in Chattanooga during the Depression and graduated from City High School before enlisting in the U.S. Army during World War II.
He served in the 1st Infantry and the 16th Armored Division where he achieved the rank of Master Sergeant. After the war, he attended Shrivenham University in England before returning to Chattanooga to start a family with his wife, Laura.
Employed by the Chattanooga News-Free Press, he began his work as a paperboy, rose to Circulation manager, and finally to advertising director and secretary of the company before his retirement.
Bill was Chattanooga “Young Man of the Year” in 1950, and served as director of the local YMCA 1957-1966 and as Lt. Governor of Civitan, International in 1964 – 1965. Later in life, he was president of both Senior Neighbors and the Chattanooga Half-Century Club.
But he is perhaps most remembered for his faith – personifying what it means to be a Christian to all he ever encountered. He taught Sunday School for over 70 years – initially at Central Baptist Church on McCallie Avenue, at Woodmore and most recently at the First Baptist Church where his class was and is still named “The Hoback Class”. He also devoted much of his time to speaking for the Gideons – having been one of the founders of the local Gideon Camp in Chattanooga and serving as president of Tennessee Gideons International. Lay people and pastors sought his spiritual advice, and his knowledge of the Bible was unsurpassed.
His death is a great loss to his family and to Chattanooga.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Laura Robinson Hoback;
Bill is survived by his wife, Alma S. Hoback; his son, James W. Hoback, Jr. MD, his daughter-in-law, Debra B. Hoback and his grandchildren, Benjamin W. Hoback, Elizabeth A. Hoback, and Jennifer L. Hoback.
The family will receive friends from 4-7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 19, at the North Chapel and 1-2 p.m. on Sunday at First Baptist Church of Chattanooga, 401 Gateway Ave., Chattanooga, Tn. 37402.
Services for Bill will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 20, at First Baptist Church of Chattanooga, with Dr. Thomas Quisenberry officiating. Serving as honorary pallbearers will be the members of the Hoback Sunday School Class. Burial will follow in Chattanooga Memorial Park.
Memorial contributions may be made to First Baptist Church of Chattanooga, 401 Gateway Ave., Chattanooga, Tn. 37402 or Gideons International, 50 Century Blvd., Nashville, Tn. 37214, 615 564-5000.
Arrangements are by the North Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home, Crematory and Florist, 5401 Highway 153, Hixson. Please share your thoughts and memories at www.chattanooganorthchapel.com