I learned Friday of the death of Diana Hobby. I find myself at a loss. I can point you to her obituary, an outline of an extremely full and adventurous life. I can note that she was a distinguished Rice alumna, having earned her doctorate here in 1981, and that she stayed on here until 1991 as an associate editor of Studies in English Literature, a job she did with skill and verve. I can tell you that she was an early associate of Brown College and show you a picture of Diana and Bill at Brown that I found in an old scrapbook recently:
I’m struggling, though, with how to explain what I found her most powerful characteristic, her kindness. I have just a small story. Once upon a time I spent an exhilarating early fall morning behind Diana, watching her back as I worked to keep up, first on horseback and then immediately into what had to be the coldest swimming pool in North America. She never flagged and never flinched. She also never once let on that I was slowing her down, which I most assuredly was. Instead she made me her compatriot. We were conspirators in fun, both of us feeling pity for everyone who had slept in that morning and missed it all. It was one of the loveliest gifts I’ve ever received.
Diana Hobby, RIP.