Vernon Lee Hobold aka ‘Hobo’ passed away on August 16, 2023 at home in Carson City, NV. He was born on January 29, 1941 in East Los Angeles, CA to Bernard August Hobold and Lucille Verna Lee. Lee grew up in the San Gabriel Valley, and graduated Mark Keppel High School in Alhambra, California in 1958.
Lee began his military service with the US Navy and served as a gunner’s mate on the destroyer tender USS Piedmont from 1959-1964, which traveled extensively through the Pacific to Japan, Hawaii, the Formosa Strait, and other locations. Later, Lee’s travel plans always included a visit to a ship, train, aircraft, or automobile museum.
After his Navy service, Lee became a baker for Safeway in the Los Angeles area. Later he opened a bar & pool hall called Hobo’s Peanut House in Bellflower, CA. After visiting Lake Tahoe in 1980, the blue skies over Carson City beckoned Lee and he moved here in 1982. His lifetime interest in his Americana collectibles prompted him to open an antique shop downtown.
Lee’s hard work and attention to detail was exhibited in his several restoration projects. One of his favorites, a blue ’57 Chevy sedan with flame detailing, was featured extensively in Hot August Nights advertising. Two of his pickup trucks, a green two-toned ’54 GMC and a green 1936 Chevy Open Express pickup, had feature articles in Vintage Truck magazine. Throughout the years, he enjoyed attending or participating in many car, bottle, train, and antiques shows. He could often be found hustling around swap meets looking for car parts and collectibles.
A few years after settling in Carson City, the call of a railroad whistle led Hobo to the Nevada State Railroad Museum. His restoration skills and interest in trains led to an offer of a job restoring historical trains. Lee was enthralled with his job and worked there for over 20 years. Two of his favorite train projects was restoring the Glenbrook and the McKeen car, later designated a National Historic Landmark. As an avid Harley Davidson motorcyclist, another restoration project he enjoyed was a 1941 Indian motorcycle, which has been exhibited in the Nevada State Museum for many years. He enjoyed riding his motorcycles with his good friends to places like Hollister, and the Black Hills for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. When sporting his ponytail and red bandana headband, Lee was appropriately nicknamed ‘Willie’ for his resemblance to Willie Nelson.
Lee is survived by his wife Linda, son Eric Hobold (Mary Lou) of Green Lane, PA and daughter Julie Googins of Avondale, AZ. He also has six grandchildren – Andrew Hobold (Vanessa) of Alexandria, VA; Erica Sanchez (Hector) of Queens Village, NY; Peter Hobold (Miranda) of Englewood, CO; Tim Hobold (Allison) of Arlington, VA; James Hobold (Meghan) of Ellington, CT; and Kaeli Googins of Avondale, AZ. His great-grandchildren include Hector ‘Dito’ Sanchez III, Grace Sanchez, and Nolan Hobold.
A Celebration of Life will be held soon at the Nevada State Railroad Museum where Lee worked for 23 years. Please contact Linda at firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.