OBITUARY

Antoine George Hobeika

28 September, 194320 September, 2021

Antoine George Hobeika, passed away peacefully in the presence of his family in Richmond, Virginia on Monday, September 20, 2021, following an acute stroke. He was 77 years old. Antoine was born in Homsieh, Lebanon on September 28, 1943, the youngest of four children. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from American University of Beirut and, on an International Road Federation scholarship, earned his doctorate degree in civil engineering from Purdue University in 1973. That year he became Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at Virginia Tech. He married Jane (Lucas) Hobeika in Brockton, Massachusetts in 1974. Together, they lived in Lebanon where he worked as a transportation consulting engineer until civil unrest in Beirut caused their return to Blacksburg via Cairo and Baghdad. He became a naturalized United States citizen and served as Professor at Virginia Tech for 43 years.

Dr. Hobeika was the Founding Director of the Virginia Tech Center for Transportation Research. He left a legacy of progress in Intelligent Vehicle Highway Systems, received approximately $18 million in research funding support, and mentored countless students during his prestigious career. He was named Emeritus Professor at Virginia Tech in 2016.

Beyond his work at Virginia Tech, Antoine was a fixture in the Blacksburg community and was a recipient of the town’s Community Service Award. He enjoyed hosting parties for friends and family, and on innumerable New Year’s Eves, attired in a tuxedo, he was the first and last on the dance floor. Following his retirement, he dedicated his time to his wife, children, and grandchildren while enjoying an active life on the water in the Eastern Shore of Virginia. He loved sailing, playing tennis, and gardening, but his smile was most radiant while captaining his pontoon boat with a grandchild on his lap.

Antoine’s journey from a small village in southern Lebanon to becoming a university professor and patriarch of a loving, successful family in the United States embodied the ideal of the American Dream. He will be dearly missed.

Antoine is survived by his wife, Jane, of 47 years; three children, Mark (and Laura) Hobeika of Houston, Texas, Sarah (and Thomas) Hall of Richmond, Virginia, and Laura (and Bradford) Roman of Ashburn, Virginia; five grandchildren, Jackson, Cash, Julia, Martha, and Beckett; his brother, Youssef (and Samia) Hobeika of Beirut, Lebanon; and sister-in-law, June Anderson of Seminole, Florida.

A celebration of life will be held at Trinity United Methodist Church at 903 Forest Avenue, Henrico, Virginia, 23229 on Saturday, September 25 at 2:00 p.m.EDT. Visitors are welcome at the church at 1:00 p.m. Masks required. To join the service virtually, visit https://www.trinityumc.net/memorial-service/. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to American University of Beirut’s AUB4Students Scholarship Fund available at the following short link: http://tinyurl.com/ahobeika.

Services

  • Visitation

    Saturday, 25 September , 2021

  • Funeral Service

    Saturday, 25 September , 2021

Memories

Antoine George Hobeika

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Robert Healy

11 October 2021

I was a student of Dr. Hobeika at Virginia Tech in 1979-80. He mentored me through my Masters degree program and was chairman of my thesis committee. I have fond memories of Dr. Hobeika and recall him as being challenging but fair. I am sorry to learn of his demise and offer my sincere condolences to his family. May he Rest In Peace.
Robert Healy

Sigon Kim

7 October 2021

To Dear Dr. Hobeika:

It is not easy to believe that you have passed away. I and O. J. Kwon(my wife) have been sad since we saw your obituary notice the day before yesterday. I miss you, Dr. Hobeika.

Dr. Hobeika, the advisor of my Ph.D. course, had given me a special attention and emotional help all the time of my staying in USA.(1986-1991).

I am the first Korean Ph.D student supervised by Dr. Hobeika. He supervised twelve korean students, who are in good positions here in Korea. They are Sigon Kim(Prof. at Seoul Tech), H. Y. Kim(President of Hansol Eng.), B. J. Kim (Prof. at Aerospace Univ.), C. K. kim (President of Mobility Research), S. H. Bae(Prof. at PuKyoung Univ.), S. G. Lee(Researcher at KRIHS), S. B. Ahn (Prof. at InCheon Univ.), W. K. Kim(Prof. at Aerospace Univ.), H. J. Baik(Prof. at Aerospace Univ.), S. J. Park(Prof. at Chosun Univ.), K. S. Lee(Researcher at KRRI), H. J. Chung(Researcher at KISTI). I let them know that you have gone to the Heaven. There are a couple of students living in USA including and T. H. Kim, C. H. Bang.

Since my return to Korea in 1991, I invited Dr. Hobeika to Korea seven(7) times. During his staying in korea, he really enjoyed korean foods and cultures. Whenever he visited to Korea, all his students got together to share Hokie’s spirits.

About three years ago, I invited Dr. Hobeika and Jane together for the international seminar as keynote speaker. He and Jane said “Okay we will go to Korea.” About three weeks before the Seminar, he called me that he got a heart problem and could not take an airplane. So, I could see Dr. Hobeika and Jane at that time. That is the last talks with Dr. Hobeika. I miss you.

Dr. Hobeika. I will visit to USA in the near future to see your eternal sleeping. I promise it. Have a peaceful sleep.

Sigon Kim

p.s) Jane and family. I am very sorry for your losing Dr. Hobeika. He was the most influential person to my life. He will be missed by all his students here. May he rest in Peace....

John Khoury

7 October 2021

Dear Hobeika Family,
I am very sorry for your tremendous loss. I offer my heartfelt condolences to all of you for the loss of such a wonderful person.
Professor Hobeika was not only my advisor, mentor, and role model, at one point in time, he literally was like a father. The opportunities and experiences he passed on to me are invaluable. He taught me how to be a professor, consultant, manager, and also tennis player. Every time we connected, he talked about the great times he is spending with his grandchildren and about his beach house. He will be missed so much.
May his precious soul rest peacefully in heaven.
John Khoury

Beth Ifju

5 October 2021

Jane and family--What a great loss for you and the rest of us who cared about Antoine and your family. I understand your grief and bewilderment. Just let me remind you to take comfort in the fond memories of times gone by and the present will gradually come easier. We loved taking part in your wonderful NYE parties and will hold you all in my heart--especially you, Jane, as you walk this new path. Love to you all Beth Ifju

Jim and Barbara Erlenborn

26 September 2021

Dear Hobeika Family, Jim and Barb Erlenborn from Madison, Wisconsin. What a beautiful tribute you created for your husband, father, and grandfather. Even though we were miles away, we felt your love and your loss. Please accept our condolences.
Jim's memory: Antoine was a force. When I was first met Antoine I had a brief, one on one --sort of an introductory type of conversation with him. We were men looking for common interests. Not surprisingly, we settled on sports… more specifically the NBA and the Chicago Bulls, the NFL and the Chicago Bears, etc. While watching a tennis match on television, I learned the finer points of the game . We then moved into a serious discussion about the History of Mankind. Rarely have I met a person with whom I could be befriended in so short a time. The weekend I spent with him and his family will always be remembered with a warm heart. Thank you, Jim Erlenborn

Dear Jane, you and Antoine gifted so many people with your friendship, love and talents. The love you shared with us when we visited your vacation home was deep, rich and very much appreciated. I remember the generosity of time and spirit you shared with your family and with us… lovely meals, playing cards with Martha, Julia, Alex and Lucy, water activities and all of our enjoyable conversations. I hope the beautiful memories you and Antoine created will sustain you through the difficult time ahead. Please accept our sympathies. God Bless You. Barbara Erlenborn

Vickie Mouras

22 September 2021

To Jane and Family,

I first met Antoine over 20 years ago when I joined the civil engineering department and I still remember our first conversation. I enjoyed telling him about my visit to Beirut in the summer of 1974 and hearing some of his recollections of his time growing up and going to school there. As the years in Blacksburg passed, it seemed we often ran into one another at Kroger after work and shared stories about what tasks our lovely spouses were having us accomplish.

With my sincerest sympathies,
Vickie Mouras

Kaan Ozbay

22 September 2021

My wife Ferzen and I are very sorry for your loss.

Professor Hobeika was a pioneer in Intelligent Transportation Systems and laid the ground work for many of transportation professionals and academicians who came after him. He made many important contributions to transportation engineering due to unique his vision about the future of our field as well as his great work ethic.

Dr. Hobeika was a very supportive advisor, mentor and later a colleague who played an important role in my professional life. I have learned tremendously from him while I was a MS and PhD student at the Center for Transportation Research. He allowed me to grow professionally by being very supportive and allowing me pursue my research ideas.

I have many fond memories of him. We used to go to eat lunch at Gillies with Dr. Hobeika while CTR was still in downtown Blacksburg. Our lunch conversations were always the high point of my day because I have always learned something new while having good time. He was always friendly and generous with his time.

I consider myself very lucky for being his student but also just knowing him as a person.

May he rest in Peace.....

Hanif Sherali

22 September 2021

I’m very sorry to hear about the sad demise of Antoine Hobeika. He was a very fine gentleman, with an endearing and pleasant nature, a good sense of humor and a contagious laughter. He was very creative in his field and had deep insights into transportation planning. The Virginia Tech Center for Transportation Research, which he established, produced high quality and long-standing research that is still of contemporary relevance. We worked together on several ground-breaking mathematical optimization models and algorithms for transportation-related problems along with many Ph.D. students, and I thoroughly enjoyed our collaboration and found it very stimulating and insightful. Antoine will be greatly missed, as a friend and colleague, and as a wonderful human being. My heart goes out to his family and may God grant them the patience and strength to bear this tremendous loss.

Andrea Dietrich

22 September 2021

Dear Hobeika Family,
Losing a loved one is a challenge and please accept my sympathy and condolences.

I met first Antoine in the the late 1980s when I joined the Civil and Environmental Engineering faculty at VT. He was welcoming from our first meeting and always willing to engage in conversation. Our expertise in transportation engineering and environmental engineering only overlapped a bit, so we more often chatted about family, current events, and local comings and goings. Antoine was a good conversationalist and a welcomed colleague; he will be missed.
.

Samuel C. Tignor

22 September 2021

Dr. Hobeika was a fine man and a creative traffic and safety engineer. He had the vision to initiate the transportation research group at VA Tech which showed his strong leadership ability. I visited with him numerous times and he would join me in Lane Stadium. He will be truly missed by students and faculty. Rest in peace!

Sam Tignor

From the Family
From the Family
From the Family