- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Edith Hoblin, 80, sculptor, illustrator

Edith Hoblin, whose sculptures and illustrations helped the U.S. Department of Agriculture establish and disseminate nationwide standards for the grade and quality of fruits and vegetables, died Nov. 9 at her home in Falls Church. She was 80.

Born May 14, 1924, in Denver, Mrs. Hoblin moved with her family to Cleveland Park in the District in 1933.

The family immediately became fixtures at the Church of the Pilgrims at 2201 P St. NW — a Southern Presbyterian congregation where Mrs. Hoblin served as president of the church’s young-adults group in the late 1940s. She met her future husband, Lester Hoblin, at the church.

She was a devout church member throughout her life, serving as elder in the late 1970s and as its official Sunday greeter for more than two decades, right up to the time of her death.

One of the church’s founders was Mrs. Hoblin’s grandfather, Dr. Joseph Hill White, a specialist on the bubonic plague and yellow fever who served as chief general inspector of the U.S. Public Health Service and was appointed as assistant surgeon general by President Wilson.

Mrs. Hoblin graduated from Washington-Lee High School in Arlington and studied fine arts at George Washington University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in 1945. She continued her studies at the University of Missouri, where she received a master’s degree in 1947, and pursued additional studies at the Cranbrook Academy in Detroit in 1948.

Mrs. Hoblin’s work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture was featured on the cover of the Jan. 17, 1960, issue of the Sunday Magazine, published by the Baltimore Sun, and in the Sept. 27, 1959, issue of Sunday, the Star Magazine, published by the now-defunct Washington Star newspaper.

Both articles described her role as a sculptor and chief illustrator of a unit of the U.S. Department of Agriculture tasked with creating replicas of fruits and vegetables so realistic that they were indistinguishable from the real thing when placed side by side. Indeed, they were so lifelike that “some were eaten by mistake.”

Mrs. Hoblin also dabbled in watercolors, pen and ink sketches, oil painting, personal sculptures and jewelry making.

She is survived by a son, Mark S. Hoblin of Marshall, Va.; a daughter, Andrea Hoblin of Falls Church; a brother, Joseph Hill White III of McLean; and three granddaughters.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Church of the Pilgrims or the Salvation Army.

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