For decades, the Hubbard name has been synonymous in Oxford with golf, hospitality, charity and community spirit.
Unfortunately, another member of this well-known and beloved local family has left us.
Bob Hubbard, owner of the Oxford Hills Golf Club, passed away on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019. He was 71.
“It’s a huge loss to our community,” said Ron Davis, director of the Oxford Township Parks and Recreation Department. “Bob was Oxford . . . The whole Hubbard family, it’s Oxford.”
Rick Laidler, a friend of Hubbard’s for more than four decades, will forever remember him as someone who was “very generous, outgoing (and) friendly to everybody.”
“He’d do anything for you . . . whatever you needed,” he said. “He was just a great friend.”
“He was just one of a kind. There’s nobody like Bob,” said Oxford resident Todd Bell, who knew him for 49 years. “He was all about family, friends and humor. He was very genuine.”
“He had a big heart and a puckish sense of humor,” said retired Oxford High School Golf Coach Terry Kelley. “He was a pretty unselfish guy.”
Hubbard was the second generation of his family to own and operate the public golf course at 300 E. Drahner Rd. His father, John Hubbard, who passed away in 2006, designed and built Oxford Hills in the 1960s. By 1970, the 18-hole course was complete. Today, it’s still going strong.
“(Bob) worked his tail off to make that business go and to make the community a part of it,” Kelley said.
It was at the course that Tim Kalohn, Oxford Hills general manager, found a career, a home and a second father in Bob Hubbard.
“He taught me so much throughout my life,” he said. “Pretty much everything I’ve learned up to this point has been from him . . . He really (made) me into what I am today. I’m pretty thankful.”
Kalohn began working at Oxford Hills in 1993 when he was just 16 years old. He’s thoroughly enjoyed spending every day working with the Hubbard family, especially Bob.
“He always made me love what I do,” he said. “It’s always been a joy . . . You could be yourself. It was a relaxing, enjoyable atmosphere. We always had a good time.”
“I’ve been pretty lucky. A lot of people go to work every day and don’t really like it much,” Kalohn noted.
Kalohn said Hubbard constantly strove to be more than just a boss to his employees.
“He’d try to help everybody out in any way he could,” he said. “He’s definitely going to be missed by a lot of people.”
Bell, who worked in the Oxford Hills pro shop for six years and played golf with and against Hubbard for many years, will miss the good-natured “banter” they shared. He described Hubbard’s wit as “sharp” and “quick.”
“He loved humor and he loved people,” Bell said.
The Hubbards never failed to show their gratitude to the community for supporting their business. For many years, Oxford High School’s golf and cross country teams have been allowed to use the course free of charge. The bowling and swim/dive teams also received support from the family.
According to Laidler, these gestures were examples of Bob Hubbard’s generous nature.
“He was giving, that’s for sure,” Laidler said. “He did a lot for the community.”
Kelley said OHS “wouldn’t have had a (golf) program without” Hubbard and Oxford Hills.
“It’s a perfect course for young kids to learn on,” he said. “In the early days, (Oxford Hills) was our only site and they were so gracious. We were always confident that we were going to be welcomed back the next year. From a coaching perspective, knowing, from season to season, you were going to have a home course (made) it so much easier to plan (things). Not all high school coaches know that because things change.”
At Hubbard’s funeral on Oct. 28, Kelley said he spoke with some former OHS golfers who told him “their lives would have been totally different” had they not had the opportunity to take up the sport during their formative years. He believes they have Hubbard and Oxford Hills to thank for that.
“It had a tremendous impact on the young folks in our community, guys and gals alike,” Kelley said.
Kelley said it’s unfortunate that Oxford has lost so many of its “pillars” in recent years, people like Bob Hubbard, longtime community booster Helen Smith and retired Oxford Leader Publisher James A. Sherman, Sr.
“They were the bedrock of this community . . . (Losing them is) going to change the nature of the community,” he said.
To learn more about Hubbard and his life, please see his obituary.