RAY HOBSON - Written by Rebecca Herran
Water, water, water everywhere ....except in Perrydale. There's water here, all right, but it is saltwater, the result of a long ago Pacific Ocean covering this area. In this community's formative years, persevering residents held onto their land, eking out a living while always struggling for a water resource. The few potable wells emptied quickly each day. Farmers had to drive their livestock miles to available water.
Ray Hobson at age 68, was determined to bring a reliable water source to the Perrydale community. He had retired, having held several management positions in the dairy industry. He was our perfect champion as his life's experiences provided him with valuable strengths. Growing up in the Depression made him thrifty and creative, farming taught him diligence, and as typical of that time, Ray held a variety of jobs making him able to accept and work through all types of conditions.
Along with a unique group of four local farmers, Ray developed the first Perrydale Domestic Water Board of Directors. In 1972, after three years of struggling through government regulations and 52 permits, Perrydale began pumping water from the Lincoln area to its first 300 customers some 15 miles away. Through Ray's foresight, vigilance and dedication, the water association now has developed nine wells and services almost 800 homes.
Ray's wife, Ellen, was by his side doing all the association office work. At a time when most folks would be settling into a quiet life, these two were embarking on a most philanthropic project. Ray has always been the board chairman as well as the general manager; his wisdom and knowledge assigns him that undeniable role. Since those early days in 1968, he has been on call 24/7. If he's not solving water connection problems, he is checking on future water sources. Ray underwent major heart surgery two years ago .... and he continues to be the association's most essential person. The driving force, he says, is to be able to supply more water than demand for Perrydale.
When Ray celebrated his 90th birthday, some 300 well-wishers attended his party. There was an endless line of people who thanked him for his devotion to the water district. Although many he'd met only briefly during the past 25 years, he recalled each person and their water situation.
Water, water, water, everywhere in Perrydale. And we have our hometown hero, Ray Hobson, to thank for that precious gift.