Hobo Jim fan sets up fund to help him replace guitar

Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2002

A fan of 28 years has established a fund for Hobo Jim to help him replace an expensive guitar that recently was stolen.

"I don't really know him personally," said Dolli Koerber of Soldotna. "I just know of him and what he's done for the Elks and all the benevolent lodges here on the peninsula."

Koerber, who first met the legendary Alaska guitarist when she relocated here from Wyoming in 1974, established the Hobo Jim Fund at the Wells Fargo Bank Kenai branch but said people wishing to help could make donations to the fund at any Wells Fargo branch.

The guitar, stolen from Hobo Jim's van in Soldotna sometime between Aug. 13 and 14, is described as a $6,000 Martin D42 KOA, made of blond Hawaiian koa wood.

"It's my only guitar. It's my baby," Hobo Jim said last week after the theft.

The official Alaska balladeer is personally offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person who stole his guitar.

Koerber described herself as a fan who appreciates what the singer and songwriting guitarist has done for the community. She also said she admires "his spiritual outlook for this community" and finds him to be "a very honest, hard-working, everyday family man.

"And, he's the type of celebrity who can mix with anyone. He'd sit down and have a beer with anybody ... and tell them a story."

Koerber and her husband, Tim, have five sons, one who plays guitar and one who plays drums.

"I know at least three of our sons have seen Hobo Jim -- at the fair or somewhere -- and I play his CDs, so I know they've all heard him.

"I really like Hobo Jim's sentiment when he sings of the hardships of Alaskans, the struggles and strife, the ups and downs of the economy over the past 30 years."

Asked what her favorite Hobo Jim song is, she said, "It's got to be what everybody recognizes nationwide: 'The Iditarod Trail.'"

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