Jason Hobson lived the life of a rough-and-tumble guy.
He worked on the decks of commercial fishing boats, plying the storm-tossed seas of the Atlantic in the winter, and guarded the doors of rowdy bars and clubs in the summertime, glaring down trouble-makers and intimidating challengers with his imposing physical size. His nickname, “H-Bomb,” might give the impression of a dangerous character with a hair trigger.
But Mr. Hobson, who died in his sleep on Monday, was known to many in the Hampton Bays community as anything but the sort of scary bully one might imagine a bar bouncer to be.
“He was probably one of the nicest, sweetest, most genuine people you could ever know,” said friend Tracy Kirst, who knew Jason both from his life as a commercial fisherman who sold fish to Cor-J Seafood in Hampton Bays, where she works, and as the security guard at local watering holes, like the Boardy Barn and The Beach Bar.
“He used to have these two little Yorkshire terriers that he’d carry around, dressed in little clothes,” she continued. “He was just this incredibly gentle guy.”
His most recent boss, Jamie Kraus, credited Mr. Hobson with having helped him learn the world of commercial fishing on the Atlantic, after a lifetime spent working inside the local bays. Mr. Hobson, who had just celebrated his 36th birthday on May 28, had worked on Mr. Kraus’s dragger, the Mary Anne, for three years.
“When I purchased the boat, he just showed up, he found me and he fit right in,” Mr. Kraus said. “We did well together. He was the captain of the ship at most times, really. Very loyal. He was a good friend.”
Born in Michigan, Mr. Hobson and his family moved to Hampton Bays when he was a child. He attended Hampton Bays schools before dropping out after the 10th grade to go to work as a commercial fisherman.
“It’s all he had ever wanted to do,” his mother, Janet, said this week. “When he was little, I worked at Jackson’s [Marina in Hampton Bays], and he would jump on the boats and clean them. He loved boats, and when he was 14, he knew that’s all he wanted to do.”
But it was his friends and family who really held Mr. Hobson’s attentions, his mother said, explaining that he was always there when they needed him.
“He dedicated his life to me and his sister and brother,” she said.
“His mom was like the mom of the whole town, and he was our big brother,” lifelong friend Patrick McCormack said this week. “He had a big heart, and a big smile, and he looked out for everyone he knew.”
In addition to his mother, Mr. Hobson is survived by a sister, Sharon Hammer of Hampton Bays, and a brother, Michael Hobson of Woodbridge, Virginia.
Visitation will be held at the J. Ronald Scott Funeral Home in Hampton Bays on Thursday, June 6, and Friday, June 7, from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. both days. Funeral services will be held at the funeral home on Saturday, June 8, starting at 11 a.m.
Mr. Hobson, in accordance with his wishes as expressed to his family, will be cremated and his ashes scattered at sea in a ceremony in which many of the commercial fishing boats from Shinnecock will participate.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that donations be made to Mr. Hobson’s mother. They can be dropped off at the Ponquogue Avenue funeral home.