Friday, August 10, 2007

Hilda Mary Dobson

Hilda Mary Dobson (née Robinson) was born on May 3 1923 in Easingwold, North Yorkshire, and died yesterday at York District Hospital. Two months ago, she suffered a stroke from which she was making a slow recovery - very slow, but progress nonetheless. Last Monday, she suffered another stroke and yesterday she died as a result. Her husband, Arthur Ernest (Ernie) Dobson, was at her bedside.
Hilda grew up on a farm in Easingwold, the youngest of the Robinson children and was particularly close to her brother Arthur and sister Edith - the next two youngest. Whilst in her teens, the family moved to York. Upon leaving school, Hilda did what most people in York did - go to work at Rowntree's. There, she met Ernie. Their love blossomed as Europe descended into turmoil. They had plans to marry in 1942, but with Ernie away with the Navy and Hilda working at the Rover plant in Barnoldswick, it was on hold.
The Rover plant had been sequestered for munitions manufacture. Many was the story of the humour employed to see the workers get through. For instance, a bracket was once sent back to Hilda with the note "hole wrong size. Please fit smaller hole".
On September 4, 1944, Hilda and Ernie - on shore leave - were finally married. It wasn't long before Ernie was back on the Russian convoys, but a bad accident saw him break his back and he was invalided out of the Navy and back to his new bride.
They had their first child, a son, Keith, on March 3 1946 and the family settled in the Clifton area of York. Soon after, their second child, Colin, was born. As the boys grew up, Hilda returned to work at Rowntree's in the staff canteen. She was always a great cook and took immense pride in it. Her cheese scones have to be tasted to be believed and her Sunday dinners often took the best part of a week to finally finish. It was a real passion and she passed that on to anyone who wanted to listen.
Throughout her life, she was an active member of the Salvation Army, as was her sister Edith. As their relationship grew, Ernie also got involved and they were prominent figures at York Citadel. This brought them into contact with a huge number of people and the affection for which every one of them had for both Hilda and Ernie was truly shown every Christmas as an absolute mountain of cards would cause backache for the postman. People they'd not seen for years would walk through the doors of the Citadel and immediately ask where they were. Down the years, many people came to treat them as surrogate aunt and uncle and a massive number of people will be upset at the news of her passing.
In later years, they ran the over-60s club at the Citadel until age finally began to catch up with the pair of them and they retired from their years of service at the Salvation Army. It still took a few more years before they wound down completely and accepted that neither could do the things they'd spent so many years doing for others.
In recent years, Hilda's health slowly deteriorated. Stubborn to the last, she finally came to accept the help that was on offer. The first stroke saw her hospitalised and she didn't leave. Ernie wanted to be there when she finally went and he was. His sons weren't far away. While it is a hugely sad event, nobody wanted her to suffer as she was.
Hilda is survived by her husband Ernie, her sons Colin and Keith, three grandchildren, Helen, John and Matthew, and four great-grandchildren, Dominic, Matilda, Lydia and Andrew, as well as extended family around the world and an army of friends who were all touched by her warm, generous nature.
Hilda Mary Dobson was my grandmother and I miss her terribly.


Gary said...

Very sory to hear of your sad news John but that tribute is beautiful, I hope you have kept a hard copy somewhere, best wishes to your grandfather, they both sound like they have lived special lives.

John_D said...

They're both remarkable people that I'm privileged to know.

Anonymous said...


John_D said...

Funeral yesterday. Say what you like about the Salvation Army - they know how to do funerals