LMU Mourns the Loss of Beloved Faculty Member Dr. Rex Hobbs
The Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) community is mourning the loss of Rex Hobbs, DMS, PA-C, associate dean of academic affairs for the LMU-School of Medical Sciences (LMU-SMS). Hobbs, 49, a native of Mount Pleasant, Texas, passed away in his home surrounded by his family and loved ones on November 3, 2020, after more than three years of battling cancer. Hobbs was a founding faculty member of the LMU Physician Assistant (PA) Program and cherished by many. He and his family have made Harrogate, Tennessee, their home since 2008.
“The LMU community and the physician assistant family have suffered a great loss with the passing of Dr. Rex Hobbs,” said Mark Moran, DMS, PA-C, vice president and dean of LMU-SMS. “Rex was a beloved member of our faculty and a friend to many of us here. Dr. Hobbs loved being a PA and took great pride teaching and administrating the LMU PA program. His legacy as a compassionate and knowledgeable clinician continues in all of those who had the opportunity to learn from him.”
Hobbs became interested in the PA profession during his undergraduate studies. The first person in his immediate family to go to college, Hobbs knew he wanted to be in medicine and knew he wanted to look at medicine from what he called “the big picture.” Hobbs received physician assistant training from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and his master’s in physician assistant studies from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Before entering academia, Hobbs spent 14 years working in rural and family medicine in Texas. Hobbs taught at the University of Texas Southwestern before joining the faculty at LMU in 2008 as an assistant professor of PA studies and director of didactic education for the PA Program.
Hobbs made a lasting impact on the lives of many students in the physician assistant program. Tonya Skidmore, DMS, PA-C was in the PA program’s inaugural class and credits Hobbs for encouraging her to return to teach at LMU. Skidmore is an associate professor of PA studies for LMU-SMS.
“To have known Rex Hobbs is a great privilege. He has been a mentor throughout many stages of my life. He guided me through PA school and encouraged me as I made the transition into education,” said Skidmore. “He was a friend to my family. I remember him giving us advice when we were struggling to get our baby to sleep in her own room and keeping daily updates on our progress. He has prayed with me and for me when I couldn’t find the words. He is truly family and I owe him more than I could ever repay.”
In 2009, Hobbs took on an additional position as senior lecturer for The University of Queensland (UQ) School of Medicine in Herston, Australia. He helped develop and deliver the curriculum for UQ while still teaching at LMU. The PA Programs at LMU and UQ had strong ties, thanks to Hobbs. Hobbs was also instrumental in helping LMU build a relationship with James Cook University in Townsend, Australia, where he served as an adjunct professor. In 2011, Hobbs was appointed assistant dean and program director for LMU’s PA Program.
“You could not help but like Dr. Hobbs. His smile was infectious, and he was probably the most positive person I have ever met. He was my friend, my teacher, my mentor, and always inspired me to be my best,” said G. "Bradley" Thompson, DMS, PA-C, a graduate from the PA Class of 2014 and assistant professor and clinical coordinator for the LMU-SMS PA program. “My decision to return to LMU as an educator was largely because of him. I am comforted by the fact that his influence on the University and our community will continue long after his passing. He will be greatly missed.”
One of his assignments was to direct LMU-DCOM’s original Center for Interprofessional Education (IPE), in which he envisioned creating a culture of collaboration. His work on IPE has had a lasting impact on the University and continues today through the Center for Interprofessional Education and Simulation.
In October 2017, Hobbs was named Physician Assistant of the Year by the Tennessee Academy of Physician Assistants (TAPA). Hobbs was actively involved in TAPA and served on the board of directors as vice president, treasurer and president. In October 2020 he was inducted into the TAPA Hall of Fame, the organization’s highest honor, reserved for the most deserved.
“I have had the great pleasure to know Dr. Hobbs as a student, a coworker, and a friend,” said Michael Stephens, DMS, PA-C, assistant professor and academic remediation specialist for the PA program. “The impact of his work is evident by the many lives that he has touched. His passing is a great loss to the university, the community, and to me personally.”
Hobbs was a life-long learner and earned his Doctor of Medical Science (DMS) degree from LMU-SMS in August 2019.
Hobbs is survived by his wife Michelle Hobbs and their son Lochlyn and daughter Laurel; father, Rex Lee Hobbs, Sr.; and brother Jeremie. He was preceded in death by his mother, Lavon Hobbs. The family asks in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Servolution Health Services (181 Powell Valley School Lane, Harrogate, Tennessee 37752) or given online at www.servolutionhealthservices.org. Donations may also be made to the PA Scholarship Fund in honor of the legacy of Dr. Rex Lee Hobbs, Jr. at http://alumni.LMUnet.edu/memorial or via mail at Attn: LMU Office of University Advancement, 6965 Cumberland Gap Pkwy., Harrogate, Tennessee 37752) or call 423.869.6351.
Lincoln Memorial University is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The main campus is located in Harrogate, Tennessee. For more information about the undergraduate and graduate programs available at LMU, contact the Office of Admissions at 423.869.6280 or email at admissions@LMUnet.edu.