James ‘Jimmy’ Franklin Hubbard
After a two-month struggle with complications from diabetes, James “Jimmy” Franklin Hubbard passed away Sept. 7 at the Northern Nevada Medical Center in Sparks, Nev. He was 74.
A celebration of life is planned for Wednesday at 10 a.m. at St. Theresa Catholic Church, 1041 Lyons Ave., South Lake Tahoe.
Jim was affectionately known as the “Concierge Extraordinaire” by his fellow employees and the 8,000 time-share owners at Stardust Lodge and Americana Village, where he worked for almost 20 years. People constantly remarked that they had been coming to Lake Tahoe for years and never saw it as so beautiful until after talking with Jim.
He knew every hiking trail for those in a wheelchair to those with rock climbing gear. His joy came from people enjoying all the places he sent them to make their vacations extra memorable and special, like Virginia City, Bode and so many other places most of our tourists are aware of. Jim was family to all of us at the Stardust and the Americana. We are all grief-stricken, and Jim will be missed beyond measure.
Jim grew up in Fayetteville, N.C., with his father and five siblings and his famous mother, “Mother Hubbard,” with whom he was extremely close until her death. Jim said his mother made him what he is today by instilling love and appreciation for working with people in their family grocery store, which instilled the love of people from everywhere.
After finishing high school, Jim joined the Air Force, and was on active duty from 1951 to 1955, which is when his love of travel began. He still loved to travel and said he believes it helps people grow and have the chance to see different cultures and environments. After spending two years traveling in Ethiopia, Jim headed back to college, and attended North Carolina State University where he received a degree in architecture. But then Jim felt he wanted to do something different so he went to San Francisco and taught ballroom dancing with Arthur Murray for two years. He then opened a restaurant/coffee shop, but after some time wanted to try something new again.
On March 3, 1964, Jim came to the Sierra Nevada and began his love affair with Lake Tahoe and the surrounding areas. He quickly found a job with Harrah’s Lake Tahoe and was the beverage/bar manager overseeing a staff of 200. Jim was also the first pilot to use the control tower at Lake Tahoe Airport in 1965, logging more than 3,000 flying hours. It was the first time he had taken passengers in a plane.
Jim said he came to Lake Tahoe at a privileged time. This is when the Nevada side of the lake was establishing itself as a gaming community. He had the chance to work closely and get to know the Harrah family. Jim worked 12 years for Harrah’s, leaving to become manager of Paul Kennedy’s Steakhouse.
After a year in Spain in 1986, he came to the Stardust Lodge and the Americana Village to work with Ed and Jan McCarthy, where he worked ever since. He truly enjoyed his job and always said his greatest moments and memories were there with the staff, the time-share members and guests, who became family to him.
Jim pursued many hobbies throughout his life. He had a keen eye and a passion for photography and took some of the more beautiful pictures of landscaping and peoples faces that brought out emotion of all kinds. He was also a wine judge for 10 years in the Amador County Wine Festival. Everyone who knew him knew his enormous appreciation for Mark Twain and his writings. Jim really had a thirst for knowledge, and with all his hobbies and interests it seems there isn’t much about Lake Tahoe that Jim didn’t know first-hand. He had a genuine interest in everyone he met. Jim was in high demand all over town, and was asked to speak at many organizations over the years about the vast amount of history and customer attention he so loved doing.
He was predeceased by his father Brown and mother Jennie Hubbard, sister Ann Foster of Honolulu and brothers Ruby Warren, Brown Hubbard Jr. and Harold Hubbard, all of Fayetteville, N.C.
He is survived by his brother, Robert Hubbard of Fayetteville, N.C., and brother-in-law Louis “Papa Lou” Foster of Medford, Ore.
In lieu of sending flowers, please send donations to the Friends of the Mark Twain House and Museum, and mail them to the Stardust Lodge, 4061 Lake Tahoe Blvd., South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150.