CHAPEL HILL – W. Sands Hobgood died in an accident August 27 near Brevard, N.C. Sandy will be remembered by many for his love of people and the arts.

A native of Oklahoma, Sandy was schooled in Durham and Greensboro public schools where he developed his flair for theater and his musical talent. As a teenager, he played in a combo on Saturday nights and at the church organ on Sunday mornings, a pattern that he followed all his life. He was driven to connect people through music and laughter, hosting many a party, conducting church choirs, and playing the organ on his many travels.

He earned degrees in mathematics and information science at UNC Chapel Hill and was an avid fan of Tar Heel basketball and the Durham Bulls. He had an award-winning, 30-year career with IBM in research, development and systems architecture in New York, North Carolina and England. Sandy was also one of the original architects of ARPANET, which led to the creation of the Internet. He served for a year as an IBM scientist-in-residence at Bacone College, a school with strong ties to the Cherokee Nation, of which Sandy was an enrolled member.

Sandy took early retirement to begin a second career as church musician and community music impresario. He served congregations in Chapel Hill and Durham, was guest conductor for Chapel Hill’s Messiah Sing-Along, and founded the Really Terrible Orchestra of the Triangle (RTOOT) in 2008. RTOOT is home base for 50-odd amateur musicians who quite enjoy the experience of community music.

Sandy was the son of the late W.S.H. and Marjorie W. Hobgood and was also predeceased by his brother, J. Wingate Hobgood. He is survived by son Ted Hobgood, daughter Elisabeth Allore, granddaughters Amelia Allore, Grace Allore, and Ava Allore, sister and brother-in-law Margaret and Wayne Martin and nephews Thomas Martin and Joseph Martin.

A service of remembrance [was] held at Chapel of the Cross, Chapel Hill, on Sept. 8 at 3:00 p.m., followed by a reception. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to or to the church or community music program of your choice.

(Reprinted from Triad Cremation Society and Chapel.)


The homily was delivered by Rev. Grace G. Hackney. To read it and see additional details of the service, click here.