FORT WAYNE – For golfers in the Fort Wayne area, Bobick’s Golf is a staple when it comes to all things related to hitting the links.
On June 3, Donna Jean Bobick, the former longtime owner and operator of the Fort Wayne location, died at home.
A Michigan native and current Mishawaka resident, she was 83.
Her late husband, John, was the more avid golfer of the two, having been a PGA pro and operator of a pro shop at Eberhart Golf Course in Mishawaka.
The couple married the day after Christmas in 1963, which led to Donna Bobick’s involvement in the golf industry.
When the couple expanded operations from Mishawaka to Bluffton Road in Fort Wayne, it was Donna who took the helm locally.
Current owner John Rang started with the company in 1975, just three years after the Fort Wayne store opened.
Though he did not know John Bobick as well, Rang recalled him as a pioneer in the field of golf retail outside of the golf course clubhouse setting.
During his years with the Bobicks, which included 40- to 60-hour work weeks, Rang made sure to learn all he could. They taught me how to run a business, Rang said.
To him, Donna Bobick was not just a boss. She was a mentor who took Rang under her wing.
The Bobick name grew and eventually expanded to franchises throughout the Midwest, including two Fort Wayne locations, both of which Rang owns.
The first expansion was to a Georgetown location, which was then moved to Coliseum Boulevard.
Rang said Donna Bobick worked hard for the company until the time came in 1991 when she and her husband were ready to leave the business they founded.
That’s when Rang made his offer to buy the local location.
After the Bobicks left the business, they spent time near family in Mishawaka. John Bobick died in 1995.
In addition to the store, Donna Bobick was one of seven original founding members of the Midwest Buyers Association, a group of major buyers of golf equipment.
The group later became the National Golf Buyers Association.
As Rang continues to carry on the company, he keeps Donna and John Bobick close to heart.
She was a very good person to me and I miss her, he said, adding he hopes he is the kind of boss to his employees that Donna was to him.