Dr. George D. Hobson (1923 – 2015)
George Hobson was a highly respected scientist, an adventurer, an explorer, a volunteer and a leader. He received a degree from McMaster University in Mathematics and Physics and a Master’s degree from the University of Toronto in Petroleum Geophysics in 1948. George married Arlie in May, 1948, and moved to Edmonton, where he began his career as a geophysicist with Heiland Exploration. After 10½ successful years in the oil patch, the family moved to Ottawa in the fall of 1958, when George joined Energy, Mines and Resources. He served as Director of the Polar Continental Shelf Project from 1972 to 1988. During his time at Polar Shelf, George was immensely proud of the Arctic ice island, coincidentally named “Hobson’s Choice” in 1983 when discovered, which drifted around the Arctic for the next 9 years serving as a platform for scientific exploration. George’s work in the Arctic allowed him to make regular contact with arctic communities through their local councils and to keep northern residents aware of scientific projects in their areas of concern. He always believed that communication between scientists and northern residents was essential.
George distinguished himself in the scientific exploration of many of Canada’s remote regions, notably the Arctic, and has been recognized over the years with many awards for his vision and vigour in helping many other Canadians, including native people, students and artists, to share in the exhilarating experience of discovering the physical and psychological reality which has so aptly been called “la nordicité canadienne”.
George received many awards over the years, including The Massey Medal (1991), Northern Science Award (1991), Camsell Medal (1998), The Golden Jubilee Medal (2002), Fellow of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society (2009), The Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012), and the Sir Christopher Ondaatje Medal for Exploration (2014). George was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science from McMaster University in May, 1991.
George had a life-long love for music, beginning as a boy soprano in Hamilton choirs, continuing through barber shop quartet singing and the church choir. He was an avid stamp collector and supported the Hamilton Tiger Cats. He was an enthusiastic member of the Manotick Kiwanis Club, particularly as a key organizer of volunteers for the Kiwanis Music Festival (Ottawa) for many years, a devoted member of the United Church of Canada, and the long-serving Treasurer of one of the Farren Lake Cottagers associations. He was a sought-after speaker and an expert who was consulted by many clubs, organizations and advisory committees for his experience and insights as an Arctic explorer and adventurer. He was a guest lecturer and specialist on over 15 Arctic cruises and did several speaking tours across Canada for the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.
George lived his life as an adventurer, an explorer, a man of deep spiritual faith, a person who felt he had the best job in the world, a devoted husband and father, and one who strongly believed in, and expressed to others, the phrase “Have a good life, and BE PART OF IT”.