Obituary: Veteran Elk Grove teacher Joyce Hobbs, 82, wrote tunes, storybooks for first-graders

12/13/2011 12:00 AM

12/12/2011 10:35 PM

Joyce E. Hobbs, an innovative teacher who created children's songs and books as learning tools for first-graders, died Nov. 22 of cancer, her family said. She was 82.

Mrs. Hobbs was a veteran teacher in the Elk Grove Unified School District. She retired in 1991 as a longtime first-grade teacher at Charles Mack Elementary School in Sacramento.

She wrote lyrics and music for a series of sweet, catchy tunes to help youngsters learn colors, days of the week, basic skills and nursery rhymes. She played a keyboard and sang as students followed along in storybooks that she wrote and illustrated.

Her music and books became a popular teaching tool for children and educators, former kindergarten teacher Pat Littlejohn said. The materials are available on iTunes and at

"The kids loved them," Littlejohn said. "Whenever she pulled the books out, they would clap. She openly shared all her materials with teachers."

Joyce Elaine Jackson was born in 1929 in Berkeley. She married Earl Hobbs and had four children, including a daughter, Cheryl Jean, who died at 6 months. She earned a teaching credential from California State University, Sacramento.

Mrs. Hobbs, who was divorced, had lived in Citrus Heights since 1979. She painted in watercolors and pastels and was an avid gardener.

Survivors include her son, Richard of Roseville; daughters, Gayle of West Sacramento and Wendy Burrell of Citrus Heights; brother, Robert Jackson of Santa Rosa; four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Services are private.

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