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Oxford loses its first lady of golf

Virginia Hubbard (click for larger version)
February 09, 2011 - It's nice to know that one of Virginia Hubbard's last memories of Oxford was her proudly riding up Washington St. in a convertible, waving to a cheering crowd as Grand Marshal of the town's Christmas parade.

"She thought that was just so much fun," said her daughter Nancy Kraft. "She couldn't believe they asked her to do that. She was so nervous, but after it was over with, she said, 'You know, I could do that again.'"

Sadly, Virginia passed away on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011. She was 94 years old.

Virginia and her late husband, John, are best remembered for founding the Oxford Hills Golf and Country Club on E. Drahner Rd. in 1965.

Over the next 46 years, Oxford Hills became the community's hometown golf course with its popular leagues, weekly meetings of the Rotary Club of Oxford and constant support of Oxford High School sports teams.

It was John who drove the bulldozer that molded 200 acres of raw earth into the golf course everyone knows today. But it was Virginia who diligently and meticulously handled the business side of things.

During those early years while John was still working full-time for General Motors Fischer Body Division, Virginia single-handedly ran the Oxford Hills pro shop out of the couple's garage.

"They bought a used counter from J.L. Hudson's and an old cash register from somebody. She took care of the golfers, while he worked," Kraft said.

"When the business first started, she kind of ran everything," said Director of Golf Tim Kalohn, who's worked at Oxford Hills for 17 years.

Virginia continued working at Oxford Hills right up until her death.

"She handled all the daily bookwork for the golf course," Kraft said. "She just felt it was part of her. She always said it keeps me young. It kept her mind sharp."

Kalohn's not looking forward to the prospect of going to work each day and not seeing Virginia's smiling face.

"It's going to be tough," he said. "Something's going to remind me of her everyday."

"It was a privilege to have been so close with the Hubbards, with John and Virginia. I feel like I'm a much better person today because of it," Kalohn noted. "The whole Hubbard family's been very good to me."

Although they spent most of their life together running Oxford Hills, Virginia and John were partners in love long before they were partners in business.

They met while attending Pontiac High School (now Pontiac Central High School) in the 1930s. Virginia caught John's eye while she was roller skating. The two went to prom together and were married in June 1938.

The Hubbards moved to Oxford in the mid-1960s, living right on the golf course. There they raised their children, Bob and Nancy, who now operate Oxford Hills.

Virginia and John spent 68 happy years together before he passed away in September 2006.

Those who knew Virginia not only marveled at her seemingly-endless supply of energy, they admired her for it.

"She was my role model," said Luan Offer, a friend and Oxford resident. "She was my hero."

"We always called her the Energizer Bunny because she was just very active," Kraft said.

One of Virginia's favorite activities was having dinner at Oxford Hills every Friday night with the girls, Ruth Patterson and Gert Curtis.

"When Oxford Hills was closed, they'd go someplace else. Gert was the designated driver because she was 10 years younger (than Virginia)," Kraft said.

"She loved to be social," said Kalohn, who described her as the "kindest, most thoughtful person you'd ever know."

Virginia was also quite fond of traveling. Her and John did a lot of globe-trotting visiting such places as Greece, Spain, England, Morocco and Hawaii. The Hubbards always traveled in style, from flying on the supersonic Concorde to sailing on the luxurious RMS Queen Elizabeth 2.

In June 2009, the Oxford Athletic Boosters presented Virginia and her son, Bob, with a varsity jacket to honor the family for all the high school sports it's supported throughout the years including golf, cross country, bowling and swim/dive.

From allowing free use of the golf course to aiding fund-raising efforts, the Hubbards never failed to lend a helping hand to Oxford's student-athletes.

"She and my dad were so proud to be a part of Oxford," Kraft said. "They were so proud to be affiliated with the sports end of it because they were big sports fans."

Virginia is survived by her children Robert (Kathy) Hubbard and Nancy Kraft; grandchildren Steven (Gina) Kraft, Thomas Kraft, Ann (Tim) Offer, Kate, Beth, and Clare Hubbard; great-grandchildren Kai and Alivia and nephews Bill (Brandi) and Jim (Connie) Holland. She was preceded in death by both her brother Roy Nelson and his wife Joyce.

A funeral service took place Feb. 7 at the Modetz Funeral Home in Orion Township. Interment was at Mt. Avon Cemetery.

Suggested memorials to the Oxford United Methodist Church, of which Virginia was a longtime member, or the Rotary Club of Oxford.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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