Bobette and her husband, Anthony, are frequent travelers to Italy. But truth be told, she is always on the go – and has been since she was a toddler, when she was introduced to ice skating at the age of two by her hockey playing father and her figure skating aunt. During the 1950s pond skating was the only choice growing up in Bernardsville, NJ. But when South Mountain Arena opened in 1958, Bobette was one of the first children to sign up for Group Instruction.
As a young girl, her interest in skating grew, and she began private lessons advancing through the USFSA tests to the gold levels throughout her high school years under the tutelage of Dave Owen, Peter Burrows and Hans Gerschwiler. But skating wasn’t her only passion. She was a child model between the ages of 2 –14, featured in catalogs, magazines, and fashion shows. Along with the modeling came frequent auditions and acting lessons in New York. She also played the accordion for 20 years, loved tennis, horseback riding, and skiing, and she dreamed of the day she would own show dogs and compete in the Westminster Dog Show – a dream that came true with her CHAMPION German Shorthaired Pointer, “Blitz,” in 1994.
Practicality set in during her college years as she studied to become a Home Economics teacher, but that plan was derailed when her skating teacher at the time, Mr. Gerschwiler, asked her to teach her first student in 1970. “I still remember my student, Jennifer, smiling and having the greatest time during our first lesson,” says Bobette, “and the next thing you know I was teaching seven days a week.”
Mr. Gerschwiler was her teacher, her mentor and her friend. “He played a huge role in my life, as I hope I do for my students. I still hear his voice in my head: “Bend your knees; Push harder; Do it again.” I loved him, and I knew he cared about me.”
Today Bobette teaches beginners to high level skaters. Some of her students have been with her as many as 14 years before they head off to college. She has taken quite a number of them through their “golds.” Plus she also teaches Power Skating to hockey players. In fact several of her students have gone on to play for prep schools and top colleges all over the country, while two were NHL drafts.
In 2003 Geri Lynch, director of the SYNCHROETTES at Codey Arena, asked Bobette to help coach the teams. She considers this work the highlight of her coaching career.
“Synchro, and skating in general, is a great for kids of all ages,” says Bobette, who truly loves her sport and believes that “Once a skater, always a skater.” She says, “Look at me. I have been skating for 58 years, and I still love it.”