Karl Hoblitzelle was born in St. Louis during the late 19th Century. After serving as an event manager at the St. Louis World's Fair, he came to Dallas, Texas in 1903 and built a chain of vaudeville theaters. These auditoriums were soon transformed into movie houses, and the success of Mr. Hoblitzelle's entertainment business created financial resources which he invested in the growing oil and gas, real estate, and banking industries in Texas. He married Esther Thomas in 1920, a Broadway starlet who performed under the name of "Esther Walker". Both were active in the social, civic, and cultural activities of Dallas and established the Foundation in 1942.
Mrs. Hoblitzelle died unexpectedly in 1943, and Mr. Hoblitzelle lived until 1967. During his lifetime, he was primarily interested in agronomy, medical research and teaching, community affairs, and education.
In his will, Mr. Hoblitzelle stated, "I think that Foundations of this type are most useful when they serve to telescope time. Thus, a Foundation may bring or help bring into being a project or program of great promise and worth which might well fail or be long deferred because of lack of financial support from other sources. I think this approach offers greater opportunities to the Foundation to be useful than the making of contributions or recurring gifts to programs which have already been activated."