TRAVERSE CITY — Captain Dean Hobbs, of Traverse City, passed away unexpectedly Nov. 21, 2013, while playing with his favorite hockey league at Centre Ice in Traverse City. He was born on March 11, 1954, in Ann Arbor, to Zelma Cohoon and Charles Hobbs.
Dean was the senior captain of the carferry S.S. Badger that runs between Ludington and Manitowoc, Wis. “He knew the Great Lakes inside and out and took great pride in his job as a Captain on the SS Badger and every ship he helmed. He was an exceptional friend, sailor, father and husband.”
Dean was a graduate of Sault Ste. Marie High School and the Great Lakes Maritime Academy. He earned his bachelor’s degree from State University of New York and did graduate work at the Maine Maritime Academy. In 1976 he became the youngest captain on the Great Lakes.
He began his career with Standard Oil (Amoco) as a cadet and eventually became the superintendent of marine operations overseeing three vessels. Dean’s career progressed, and he worked for many large and small companies. He was the secretary/treasurer of Lodge #23 chapter of the International Shipmasters Association and served as the Grand President in 1999. He had a special relationship with the Michigan Charter Boat Association and in 2011 was awarded their prestigious Pistis Award.
He was the senior trial master for Marinette Marine Corporation and assisted in the sea trials and delivery of many of its new vessels, including more than 25 new U.S. Coast Guard cutters and the U.S. Navy Littoral combat ships.
He owned the sea trial and vessel delivery company, ABCD Marine LLC. One of his most recent projects was the delivery of the new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) fishery research vessel, the Reuben Lasker.
His quiet, larger than life, gentle and intense manner allowed him to get involved in doing what he loved most – “driving boats.”
Dean is survived by his wife of 36 years, Brenda (Goldammer); their two daughters, Annette (Dan) Magier, of Chicago, and Cortney (Jason) O’brien, of Rockford; and three grandchildren, Lucy and Walker O’brien and Nora Magier. Also surviving are his mother and stepfather, Zelma and Eugene Cohoon, of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.; his father and longtime companion, Charles Hobbs and Sue Moody, of Tennessee; brother, Daniel (Carolyn) Hobbs; sisters, Gail (Tom) Williams, Karen (Andy) Kucharczyk, and Nancy (Tony) Sinnott; stepbrother, Terry Colquhoun; sisters-in-law, Carolyn Vyletel and Vicki Goldammer; and many nieces and nephews who loved their Uncle Dean.
Funeral services were held at St. Michaels Lutheran Church, Traverse City, with Pastor Jim Nihiser officiating. A maritime memorial service celebrating Dean’s life will be held in early 2014; the date and location will be announced.
Dean was a Gift of Life donor. Memorials can be directed to the Great Lakes Maritime Academy Scholarship Fund or St. Michael’s Lutheran Church located in Traverse City.
Funeral arrangements were handled by Verdun Funeral Home, Baldwin.