September 25, 1922 - August 10, 2019
Herbert Windsor Hobler, 96, died August 10 at Stonebridge at Montgomery in Skillman.
Hobler Park on Route 601 across from Cherry Valley Country Club, is named in his honor.
Born in St. Louis in 1922, he was raised In Bronxville, NY and Stamford, CT. His family moved to Princeton in 1941.
He graduated from the Hill School, a prestigous boarding school in Pottstown, PA then entered Princeton University in the Class of 1944, where he was on the basketball and track teams. He served as class secretary for many years, and was class president for five years.
A dedicated Tiger to the end, Herb showed his stripes when this year, he attended his 75th Princeton reunion; his 73rd reunion in a row. A trustee candidate of the university in 1969; he was honored in 2003 with the Princeton Alumni Service Award. He chaired many of the class of 1944’s reunions. Herb likely saw more Princeton basketball games (more than 870) over 70 years than anyone else, in large part by being the color commentator on the WHWH radio broadcasts for 18 years.
During World War II, he was an Army Air Corps (now the Air Force) navigator on a B-29 flying missions over Japan, and in 1986, was president of the Ninth Bomb Group Association, and continued for 14 years. A commuter to New York City for 18 years, Herb was first in programming at Mutual Broadcasting Company, then joined the NBC-TV network the day it started in December 1949, where he sold his first spot on the “Today” and “Show of Shows."
After two years with the CBS network, he joined the start-up company, Teleprompter, for five years, helping to pioneer their prompting system. For four years he was head of production at Videotape Productions in NYC, where he supervised thousands of TV commercials and shows.
After founding the Nassau Broadcast Company in Princeton, he put WHWH Radio on the air in 1963. The station provided extensive community programming. He was founder, principal owner, and overseer of the radio station, but also was on-air as the color commentator for Princeton football and basketball and as host of the WHWH Pops Classics.
Herb Hobler wrote Walking, A Moving Experience when he stopped jogging, at age 60, when a friend "introduced him to the wonders and joys of walking before breakfast."
A year later he bought WTOA-FM from The Trenton Times (now The Times of Trenton) changing the call letters to WPST. As principal owner and chairman of Nassau Broadcasting Company, he also started six cable companies. Nassau Broadcasting Company was sold in 1986 and is now owned by Connoisseur Media of Westport, CT.
In 1975, Herb was named National Broadcaster of the Year with the Abe Lincoln Award for editorializing about government broadcasting restrictions. As a result he served four years on the National Association of Broadcasters Board where he chaired the First Amendment Committee.
Locally, Herb served on the boards of the YMCA, the Hun School, the United Fund, Princeton Savings and Loan, the Nassau Club, and Tiger Inn. A member of the Springdale Golf Club, a past active elder in the Nassau Presbyterian Church, Paul Harris Rotary Fellow, and chairman of Princeton Township’s 150th anniversary.
Herb was honored as Princeton’s Man of the Year both by the Chamber of Commerce and the United Fund’s Lambert Award. In Princeton he was also a co-founder of Concerned Citizens of Princeton, and in 1999, created the 20th Century Brick Walk in Palmer Square. He also helped create “the Spirit of Princeton," a fund of the Princeton Area Community Foundation, of which he was a co-founder. Due to his fundraising, The fund was able to bring back the annual Princeton Memorial Day Parade. At the Nassau Club, over many years, as chairman of the speaker program, Herb was responsible for bringing more than 1000 speakers to the weekly luncheons.
One of Herb’s great passions was the American Boychoir School. After becoming a board member In 1974, he was responsible for suggesting a name change to the school, The American Boychoir, which was accepted by the Board. Serving as Chairman of the Board for 22 years, Herb worked tirelessly on behalf of the Boychoir, helping them achieve national recognition for their academic and vocal excellence.
Herb is survived by his four children: Randolph of Norwalk, CT; Debbie of Santa Barbara, CA; Nancy of Germantown, MD; and Mary Hyson of Cheshire, CT. He leaves behind six grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren. His wife of 73 years, Mary “Randy” Hobler, died in 2017. His parents were the late Atherton W. Hobler and Ruth W. Hobler of Princeton; and he was predeceased by his brothers, Edward and Wells, and sister, Virginia.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to the Princeton Area Community Foundation or a local charity in his name.
A memorial service is planned at a future date.