Pamela Hobbs

Pamela Hobbs, June 12, 1924 – April 10, 2023

It is with heavy hearts that, we, the Hobbs family announce the passing of our matriarch Pamela. She passed away peacefully, surrounded by her Victoria family at Victoria General Hospital on April tenth, twenty-seven years to the day of the passing of her husband Derek.
Mum’s parents lived in Singapore. When her mother was pregnant with Pamela, she went to England to give birth, and soon after they went back to Singapore. Her father, Max, worked there as Foreign Importer’s Manager. As Max was Jewish (from Holland), and as war approached, he sent his three daughters back to England to be schooled and live in a Catholic Convent (she converted to Catholicism while there). Mum was good at school, particularly with languages. She spoke English, French and German fluently and had a working knowledge of Latin, Greek and Chinese. Her fluency in German became known to British Intelligence. Mum told the story that she was sitting at breakfast, when two Army Officers approached her table and put a German newspaper in front of her. They ordered her to “Read this in English.” She had no trouble translating it from the German and so the officers immediately recruited her to work for MI6. She worked throughout the war at Bletchley Park, (attaining the rank of Warrant Officer II) the British Spy School where messages intercepted from the Germans were decoded and then translated. Mum never spoke about her wartime experiences until the year 2000 when the secrecy was officially lifted. Such was Mum’s dedication to and love for her country. When the war ended, and she was being demobilized Mum went to a dance for NCOs where she met our Dad, Derek. He was a sergeant in the Coldstream Guards Regiment. They married in 1947 and emigrated to Canada with their three children, to seek a better life. They ended up in Kitchener where Mum went to the University of Waterloo to finish her Bachelor of Arts. As she was fluent in French she also set up a private school where she taught and tutored people wishing to improve or learn to speak French. She did that until she accepted a position of French teacher at Queen Elizabeth High School in Sioux Lookout, ON. After spending two years in Sioux Lookout the family moved to Thunder Bay where Mum gave birth to her ninth child. She then took a job with Lakehead University in the Faculty of Education which enabled three of her children to successfully complete their degrees. Eventually Mum and Dad moved to Victoria and bought a condo. They enjoyed a peaceful life in Victoria until Dad passed away in 1996. In 2004 we celebrated Mum’s 80th birthday at Andrew’s place in Calgary. In 2014 we celebrated her 90th birthday at Butchart Gardens in Victoria which was largely attended by the Canadian and English families. Mum lived on her own, until that was no longer an option, at which time she moved into Veteran’s Memorial Lodge where she kept her wits sharp by telling ‘Dad’ jokes. We would tell Mum a Dad joke and within minutes Mum would have told it to everyone in the family. That sense of humour was bestowed on us all from her and her jokes will be forever missed.
Mum was a long-time member of the St. Andrew’s CWL, The Bletchley Park Honour Roll: Roll of Honour Bletchley Park, The Black Watch Association, The Royal Canadian Legion and the Army and Air Force Club.
Mum is survived by her children, Ian (Yvette deceased), Keith, Richard (Jocelyn), Marianne Green, Lee Cranton, Frank (Tammy). She is also survived by her half-brother John Kanis, nieces Christine, Wendy and Margaret all in England and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her parents Max and Gwen Kanis, husband Derek, daughters Clare and Jan and son Andrew. Also predeceased by sisters Joan and Gwen and nephew Tony, all in England. Also, by her long-time companion Neil (Dusty) Rhodes (Captain, retired), veteran of World War II and the Korean War.
Mum’s remains have been cremated and a Celebration of Life has yet to be decided on.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the following in Pamela’s name would be appreciated.
Veterans Memorial Lodge – Broadmead Care