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Walter W. Hodge
"Herky"

Company G-2

15 Apr 1938 – 10 March 2004

Place of Death: Arizona City, AZ

Interment: Family land in Williams, AZ

Nancy Hodge, Herky's wife, called Donald Anselm on 11 March 2004 to let him know that Herky had died at about 4:00am from a tumor on the brain.  Herky had under gone radiation treatment for lung and brain tumors for the last couple months, but the tumors were too far advanced for the treatment to be effective.  The cancer had spread throughout his body before he realized it.  Don talked with Herky's sister who said that he was very sick and now he was in a better place. 

On March 17th at Herky Hodge's visitation and funeral were the family, close friends, a contingent from the local VFW Post and a contingent from the Class of 1961, Connie and Jerry Zingsheim of Fountain Hills, AZ, Don Anselm of Huntsville, AL and Bruce Dalgleish of Prescott, AZ. Dick Skaggs of Flagstaff, AZ was at the burial service on March 18th at a family plot in Williams, AZ, near Flagstaff. Herky was buried in worn set of combat fatigues, probably from his service in Vietnam, and a red baseball cap with the Airborne and Ranger tabs on it. The family greatly appreciated the presence of the Class of 1961.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society.

Herky's widow, Nancy, can be reached at:
Mrs. Nancy Hodge
PO Box 2227
Arizona City, AZ 85223
520 -494-8212

Herky's sister, Judy, can be reached at:
Mrs. Judy Lundin
602- 674- 0162

Obituary:

ARIZONA CITY - Walter William Hodge Jr., 65, of Arizona City died March 10, 2004 at Casa Grande Regional Medical Center.

Visitation will be from 4 to 5 p.m. Wednesday at J. Warren Funeral Services, The Gardens, 1451 E. Florence Blvd. in Casa Grande. The funeral there will follow at 5, with Deacon Tino Tarango and the Rev. Kevin Clinch officiating. Burial will be on family property at Williams.

Mr. Hodge was born April 15, 1938 in St. Louis and was a son of Willie and Walter Hodge. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in 1961 and served in the Army in Thailand and Vietnam. In 1963 he took one of the first groups of combat troops to Vietnam and returned with no casualties. He received the Air Medal with oak leaf cluster and the Vietnamese Expeditionary Medal for his service in the war.

After leaving the Army he became a teacher. He taught GED classes at Phoenix College and was a veterans counselor from 1974-78. In 1979 he founded Career Exploration Academy. That same year he went to work for the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Kayenta and counseled Navajo students until 1991. While working at Shonto Boarding School, he was president of the teachers union. He also was superintendent of Paloma School District and taught at Coconino Community College in Page. He later was a counselor at Desert Shadows Middle School in Nogales until 1997. He wrote a book that he was trying to get published, "What Do You Want to Be, Now That You Are Grown Up?"

Survivors include his wife, Nancy; a son, William Dane Hodge of Arizona City; and a sister, Judith Lundin of Phoenix.

Memorial contributions may be made to American Cancer Society.

©Casa Grande Valley Newspaper 2004, March 15, 2004

Walter William Hodge Jr. 65, of Arizona City Arizona, was born 15 April 1938 in St. Louis, MO. He graduated from West Point, N.Y. in 1961 and served in the Army in Thailand and Vietnam. In Vietnam, he was awarded the Air medal with an oak leaf cluster and the Vietnamese Expeditionary medal. In 1963, he took one of the first groups of actual combat troops to Vietnam and returned with no casualties. After serving his time in the Army, he became an educator. He taught the G.E.D at Phoenix College in AZ. and was a Veterans Counselor from 1974-1978. In 1979, he founded the Career Exploration Academy. The same year he also joined the B.I.A. in Kayenta. AZ and counseled Navajo students until 1991. While employed at Shonto Boarding School (BIA), he was Teacher Union President of the National Federation of Federal Employees. He also was Superintendent of Paloma School District. He taught Career Exploration, Stress Management, Building Self-Esteem, Motivation Skills, College Study Skills and Intermediate Algebra at the Coconino Community College in Page, AZ. Finally, he was a counselor at the Desert Shadows Middle school in Nogales, AZ until 1997. Then, he wrote a book entitled, "What Do You Want To Be, Now That You Are Grown Up" which he was trying to get published. Walter is survived by his wife, Nancy and son William Dane, sister-Judith Lundin, Phx Az. Visitation The Gardens on Wednesday, 1451 E. Florence Blvd, March 17, 2004, 4-5pm. Deacon Tino Tarango/Father Keven Clinch. Contributions to American Cancer Society.

Published in the Arizona Republic from 3/16/2004 - 3/17/2004.

Memorial:

At noon on July 9, 2005 seven classmates of Herky Hodge, along with four wives and a grandson, joined Nancy Hodge and her son Dane in a graveside dedication of headstones at Herky’s burial site on family property near Williams, Arizona. It was a lovely, clear, cool Arizona afternoon. Those present included Gary Lord, Jerry and Connie Zingsheim, Paul DeVries, Gus and Charlotte Stiehl, Jim Lynch and grandson, James, Bruce Dalgleish, Gabe and Susie Gabriel, and Mike Brady and Colleen.

The dedication of the headstones was conducted by Ralph Scott, who along with his wife has been providing grief counseling for Nancy and Dane.

Following the dedication we all convoyed to the Williams United Methodist Church for lunch and a Memorial Service led by Pastor George Watson. Prior to the service and during lunch we had an opportunity to view pictures and documents of Herky’s life. For each of us it brought back memories of prep school, the Academy, Fort Benning and IOBC, Jump School and Ranger School, the first assignment and of course, Vietnam. There was a lot of, “Did you go to Airborne first or Ranger?”, Weren’t you in  … when I was at … ?”, etc. The ceremony included a review of Herky’s life, candle lighting where each classmate lit a candle and said a few words about Herky. There was a short video tribute to Herky that had pictures from childhood to senior citizen. We all had a chance to again have some of those, “Do you remember when .. ?” For Nancy it was seeing a part of Herky she had missed. She like, Susie Gabriel, thinks of all that time at West Point and in the Army as BS (Before Susie). It is hard for the wives who came into our lives after that was over to be able to relate to the relationships that we have, the difficulties we overcame together and the joys of conquering Ranger School, the shared triumph and sorrows. Nancy deeply appreciated her brief time with us and the opportunity to see Herky through our eyes, from our words and to feel our caring for her.

As any of you who have ever run or given blood know, you can collect a lot of T-shirts over your life. Nancy swore that Herky never threw one away, but as a token of her love for us and as a remembrance of Herky, she gave each of us one of his T-shirts.

The playing of “If you could see me now” and a prayer ended the ceremony, but not the camaraderie.

For pictures taken at the Memorial, please click here.

 

Remembrances:

Class Memorial Pages\G-2 Walter Hodge.pdf

Herky, as you look down on your classmates as they remember all the good things you did, you know you fought the good fight.  Say hello to our classmates in Heaven.

Dave Teal

 

As you seemingly disappear from our view and we say, "He's gone",there are other voices shouting with joy, "Here he comes", including the voices of his fellow classmates who have gone before him.

Priscilla and Tarey Schell

 

 

 

 

Walter "Herky" W. Hodge, Jr.

4-15-1938 to 3-10-2004

 

One Year Ago
God saw you getting tired,
and a cure was not to be.
So he put his arms around you,
and whispered, “Come to Me”.
With tearful eyes we watched you,
we watched you fade away.
Although we loved you dearly,
we could not make you stay.
A golden heart stopped beating,
hard working hands now rest.
God broke our hearts
to prove to us
He only takes the best.

Always in our thoughts,
Forever in our hearts.

God bless you and
keep you until we meet.
We love you and miss you.

Your loving wife, Nancy & son, Dane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Loving Memory Walter (Herky) Hodge Jr.

Dedication of Headstone-Salutation

July 9th, 2005 12:00

Family Property in Williams, AZ

Formation Time (following Dedication) 13:00 to 17:00

‘Time of Remembrance’ Open House

Community United Methodist Church   Williams, AZ

Service will include:  Memorial of Herky; Remembrance of other classmates;

Luncheon and Fellowship

Invitation extended to:  classmates/spouses/friends/family

Casual Dress

Please e-mail memorials to Remember1961@sbcglobal.net  if unable to attend

Sites to visit in the area:  Grand Canyon, Lowell Observatory, Meteor Crater

R.S.V.P. Nancy Hodge by June 24, 2005

Phone:  520-494-8212  E-mail: nlhtoltec@hotmail.com

Directions to the graveside will be provided

 

Nancy Hodge

 

I regret not being able to attend the ceremony. Herky and I had many good times growing up together in Tucson. I still have photos of our get-togethers over Christmas vacations—when we both should have been studying. I especially remember a party at the Flamingo, downtown, following high school graduation wherein everyone was basically busted for beer. Happily, we both survived and graduated our respective schools, Herky The Point, me USNA.  Following graduation there were little opportunities to get back with school-era pals…the career, the Vietnam experience, families, life in general….  I think Herk and I met once (!) after graduation. Our mutual bandit-in-arms, Mac Greely, and I had more interface. Nevertheless, it’s a thing about guys: you never have to spend “quality time” over the years with a man to know he’s a quality guy, as Herky was!

George Worthington

 

Taps Tribute:

 

 

 

Walter William Hodge "Herky" was born 15 Apr 1938 in St. Louis, MO, a son of Willie and Walter Hodge. He graduated from West Point in 1961 and served in the Army in Thailand and Vietnam. In 1963, he took one of the first groups of combat troops to Vietnam and returned with no casualties. He received the Air Medal with oak leaf cluster and the Vietnamese Expeditionary Medal for his service.

After leaving the Army, Walt taught GED classes at Phoenix College and was a veteran's counselor during 1974-78. In 1979 he founded Career Exploration Academy and worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Kayenta, counseling Navajo students, unntil1991. While working at Shonto Boarding School, he was president of the teachers union. Walt also was superintendent of Paloma School District and taught at Coconino Community College in Page. He later was a counselor at Desert Shadows Middle School in Nogales, where he wrote the manuscript for a book, "What Do You Want to Be, Now That You Are Grown Up?"

 His wife Nancy wrote a short time after his death: "Words cannot express my feeling of gratitude and appreciation for your support and prayers during this time. It has been overwhelming and at the same time comforting to hear how much Herky was loved, respected and missed by his classmates and fellow servicemen, even though many years have passed since seeing one another. It was very emotional for me to read the cards and letters received from all of you. 1he special lift-long bond that was shared with Herky and all the other men is phenomenal and beyond my expectations.

"Although Herky did not stay in the service .... he frequently made reference to his tour of duty in Viet Nam. After the service, Herky continued to utilize his outstanding leadership qualities throughout his career in the field of education."

Walter and Nancy were married in 1981 while working at a resident school on an Indian Reservation in northern Arizona. He was the head counselor and supervisor of the boy's dorm where Nancy was teaching. In 1990 Walt had the opportunity to fulfill a dream and move to Page, AZ, to accept a faculty position at the community college. The Hodge Family, grown to three over the years with the addition of a son Dane, moved to Page, near Lee's Ferry on the Colorado River, where Walt loved to fish.  

When Walt began to have frequent bouts with pneumonia due to his lung condition, the doctor recommended that he move to a lower altitude. In 2002, he moved to Arizona City in southern Arizona, and after a long, courageous battle with lung cancer, Walter Hodge departed this world on 10 Mar 2004, dressed in old battle fatigues with the Arizona National Guard firing a final salute. Walter is survived by his wife Nancy; son William Dane; and sister, Judith Lundin, of Phoenix, AZ.  

Herky was raised in a military family, moving from post to post with his dad, COL Walter W Hodge '25, mom, Willie, and sister Judy. COL Hodge was a native of Chicago and held military posts in Panama, Ft. Lewis, WA, Ft. Douglas, UT, the Presidio of San Francisco and also was stationed in Manila after the war. He was a member of the Alaska Road Commission in 1930, and he, another engineer, two Indian guides and a cook made a 30-day trip by pack train to survey the highway route. COL Hodge was killed in April 1949 on an official flight to Portland, OR, when his plane crashed into Mt. Hood. He was laid to rest in the Presidio of San Francisco with full military honors, and the largest office building in Alaska was named after him in 1956.  

After COL Hodge's death, the family moved to Tucson, AZ. Walt attended Tucson High School and then graduated from Brown Military Academy in Glendale, CA. Being from a military family, Walt entered both Sullivan Preparatory School and West Point with a reservoir of knowledge gained over 20 years of living on Army posts throughout the world. He knew more about military history and leadership than anyone in my life when we met at Sullivan's. Walt was an early leader who wanted to help others and was not concerned about himse1£ He was a recognized leader among the Class of '61, and as his good friend and Sullivan classmate, Mike Maloney, wrote, "He was the only one of the boys to make rank." He was a cadet officer, but more important was the way Walt helped and treated others during very difficult times for him personally and the military in general. He was my very good friend throughout my life.  

A memorial was held for Walter Hodge on 9 Jul 2005 at a gravesite on the family property near Williams, AZ, to dedicate a new headstone. It was a gravesite that Herky had selected and loved, in the mountains of northern Arizona. It was a lovely, clear, cool Arizona afternoon. Those present included Gary Lord, Jerry and Connie Zingsheim, Paul DeVries, Gus and Charlotte Stiehl, Jim Lynch and grandson James, Bruce Dalgleish, Gabe and Susie Gabriel, and Mike Brady and Colleen.  

Prior to the service, we viewed pictures and documents of Walt's life. It brought back memories of Sullivan prep school, the Academy, Ft. Benning, GA, and IOBC, Jump School and Ranger School, our first assignments and, of course, Viet Nam. The ceremony included a review of his life, wherein each classmate lit a candle and said a few words about him. There was a short video tribute with pictures from childhood to senior citizen. Nancy saw a part of Walt that she had missed. It is hard for the wives who came into our lives later to relate to the relationships that we have, the difficulties we overcame together, the joys of conquering Ranger School, the shared triumph and sorrows. Nancy deeply appreciated the opportunity to see Herky through our eyes, from our words and to feel our caring for her.  

May He Rest in Peace, God Bless for a Job Well Done.  

-Love, Nancy, Judy, and Dane

TAPS MAY/JUNE 2008