Hobson Bethune succumbs to injuries sustained in accident.
BY DAYTONA TIMES STAFF
Retired Marine Hobson Bethune is being remembered this week as a beloved family man, veteran, community leader, mentor and friend.
Bethune passed away early Monday morning at Halifax Health Medical Center from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident on July 14. He was 61.
One of five grandchildren of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, founder of Bethune-Cookman University, he became a local icon in his own right for his many generous deeds in the community where he was born and raised.
‘There for everybody’
After an exemplary military career, he returned to Daytona and became actively involved in veterans’ organizations and spent much of his time as a volunteer basketball coach.
Dr. Evelyn Bethune, one of his four siblings, reflected on her brother for being a mentor to her family, and the community, especially to the youth.
“My brother was one of the most outstanding men that I know. He was there for everybody,” she told the Daytona Times on Wednesday.
His sister noted how he spent time at local centers, helping youth with basketball and life skills.
When they needed an adult who would listen, they turned to Hobson Bethune.
“The teens in Daytona Beach would call him before they would call their parents,’’ his sister recalled.
When a family member or friend was going through tough times, he was there.
“He was steady as a rock all the time,” Dr. Bethune related.
Born on Feb. 22, 1956 to Albert Sr. and Elizabeth Bethune, he attended Bonner Elementary and graduated from Mainland High School. He left for the United States Marine Corps, where he spent 28 years and rose to the high enlisted rank of master gunnery sergeant.
While in the Marines, he received the Springarn Medal from the NAACP awarded for outstanding achievement for a program that helped youngsters defy the odds. He mentored teenagers at everywhere he was stationed, his sister noted.
Bethune was a longtime member of New Mt. Zion Baptist Church. His sister said he drove the church bus and did “whatever was needed.’’
She recalls how he would drive by a church member’s home and if the yard needed cutting he would go home, get his mower and cut the grass.
“That’s who he was,’’ she remarked.
Thankful for prayers
She also mentioned that Bethune and his wife, Muriel, were married at New Mt. Zion.
“She is being very strong,’’ Dr. Bethune told the Times. “They were very close. He loved her very much.”
And last week, Muriel Bethune had her own words about her husband’s impact in a story in the July 20 issue of the Daytona Times.
“Hobson has been at the front of doing lots of good things. He always does things because it’s the right thing to do,” she told the Times.
She also expressed gratitude for the overwhelming outpouring of support after the accident.
“The family is grateful for every prayer, every phone call and every bit of support.’’
While in the hospital, he was honored by the local Marine Corp League. There was a special pinning ceremony there to acknowledge his service to the country.
“It was quite moving,’’ Dr. Bethune shared.
Veteran of the Year
Last year on Memorial Day, Bethune was honored as Volusia County Veteran of the Year for his work with various veteran organizations and for his work in the community during a ceremony at the Daytona Beach Bandshell.
He was a member of the Marine Corps League Detachment 638 in Daytona Beach, American Veterans (AMVETS) in Daytona and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) in Port Orange.
Aug. 4-5 services
Public remembrances for Bethune will begin on Friday, Aug. 4 from 5 to 8 p.m. at R.J. Gainous Funeral Home in Daytona Beach.
A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 5 at the Gertrude Hotchkiss Heyn Chapel at Bethune-Cookman.
He was preceded in death by his parents and a sister, Theodora Hankerson.
Hobson Bethune is survived by his wife, Muriel; sons, Hobson II (Anita) and Rashad; three daughters, Shanteras (Paul), Colongie (Omari) and Ashley (Anthony) grandchildren, Ava Marie, Alyson Grace, Chayse, Christian, Faith and Jalen; brothers, 98-year-old brother Albert Jr. and twin brother Robert (Terry); sisters, Sara Bethune Smith and Dr. Evelyn Bethune; along with a host of nieces, nephews and other relatives.