As a roving editor for Reader’s Digest, John Hubbell had it made. He worked from home, had an unlimited travel budget, and crossed paths with some real humdingers of the day. None, though, compared to his wife and nine kids. Hubbell died on Aug. 5 at 93 with his wife of 64 years, Punkin Hubbell, at his side.
He grew up mostly in Minneapolis. He was a sports star at St. Thomas Academy, served in the Navy, and in 1950 got a journalism degree from the University of Minnesota. Hubbell found some of his best material at home in Minneapolis. Within 11 years he and his wife had eight kids. When their youngest, Katie McCollow, was 8, they had one more. Readers loved his story about the blessing of their “bonus baby,” said McCollow.
From 1952 until he retired in 1993, his stories appeared in Reader’s Digest more than 150 times. He also wrote for the Saturday Evening Post, True, Catholic Digest, and many others. Hubble’s book-length feature, “The Case of the Missing H-bomb,” won the Sigma Delta Chi Award for Best Magazine Reporting in 1966, and he authored three books including “P.O.W., a Definitive History of the American Prisoner-of-War Experience in Vietnam, 1964-1973.”
Sports were also a passion, especially golf. Hubbell was a member of Minneapolis Golf Club for more than 60 years, wrote profiles of both Bobby Jones and Jack Nicklaus and for several years the Hubbells spent March in Florida so John could play golf and Punkin could walk the beaches.
In addition to his wife and daughter, Hubbell is survived by children Woody, JP, Mary Louise Pivec, Joe, Margy Frank, Bill, Andy, Mary Jeanne Garbers, 28 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. Services have been held.