A longtime pastor and community banker, the Rev. Elliot J. Hobbs came from a family in which several generations had answered the call to ministry.
Hobbs, of Valley Stream, died Sunday of cancer. He was 56.
"He was an extraordinary man of God," said Eleanor Dixson-Hobbs, his wife of 26 years. "He was an incredible, loving and caring person. He was the kind of person who was a giver. He gave up his time and finances."
Born on May 20, 1956, Hobbs and his five brothers were raised in Tallahassee, Fla., by the late Rev. Ira and Laurine H. Hobbs. He was later baptized by the late Rev. John H. Hobbs, his grandfather and founder of the Griffin Chapel P.B. Church in Tallahassee.
He attended Florida A&M University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in economics with summa cum laude honors in 1978 and was a member of Kappa Iota Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society. He went on to get his master's in divinity from the New Brunswick Theological Seminary in New Jersey in 1996.
After graduating, Hobbs moved to New York, where he began a 34-year banking career at JPMorgan Chase. A vice president in community development banking, he was involved in many affordable housing projects.
In 1996, Hobbs was ordained an itinerant elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. He later served as interim pastor at the Congregational Church of North New York in the Bronx and St. Paul Community Church in Harlem.
Hobbs was appointed pastor of the St. Paul AME Church in Rockville Centre in 2001, where he led a congregation of more than 350 people until his death. He oversaw the church's new project, the St. Paul's Family Life Center, which broke ground in late October. The two-level center will include classrooms and a day care center.
"He saw his work and ministry as a compensated labor of love," said his wife, the church's assistant pastor.
The father of five also enjoyed playing golf and vacationing with his family in the Caribbean.
"I've lost an amazing husband," his wife said. "I lost the love of my life. I never thought I would have to walk through this journey without him."
A memorial service is tomorrow at 4 p.m. at the Greater Allen AME Cathedral, 110-31 Merrick Blvd. in Jamaica. Interment will be Monday at 11 a.m. in Pinelawn Memorial Park, 2030 Wellwood Ave., in Farmingdale.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the St. Paul's Building Fund.