Harry Hodges, devoted husband and father, poet, writer, nature lover, and technology expert, died at home in Thomasville, Alabama, on June 4, 2020; he was 75 years old. With great courage and grace, he waged a six-year battle against cancer and left this life surrounded by loved ones. He was known for his quick wit, easy smile, and dedication to standing up for what is right.
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Harry was born on February 17, 1945, to James William Hodges and Edna Rachel Patton Hodges, in Gadsden, Alabama. He graduated from Jacksonville State University with a major in history and later attended Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Iowa, and the University of Alabama, where he completed a master’s degree in human development and family studies. In 1974, he married Shirley Wyatt, and after living in Ft. Myers, Florida, and Davenport, Iowa, they settled in Thomasville, where they raised two daughters.
They immediately became involved in the community, including the organization of the Pine Festival and joining the Thomasville United Methodist Church, where Harry sang faithfully in the choir for many years. A member of the Thomasville Public Library Board from 1999-2014, he served as president for part of that time. He was a fierce believer in public education all his life, serving on the Thomasville City School Board. He was well known in Thomasville for the two businesses he owned and ran, the much-loved Pizza Peddler and Custom Computer Systems, and for the computer classes he taught at Alabama Southern Community College. He worked at the Thomasville Mental Health and Rehabilitation Center for a number of years and retired from there. In his retirement, he spent countless hours writing novels and short stories and delighted in spending time with his grandchildren. He greatly enjoyed his work with the Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church’s Alabama-West Florida Conference, where he studied and spoke on lending practices, education, and prison reform. He was a friend to the United Methodist Women and supported their work. A lifelong trombone player, he loved performing with the Flying Bricks Community Band.
Harry was devoted to his family and is survived by his wife, Shirley; two daughters, Jasmine (John) and Laurel (Manuel); three grandchildren, Colin, Giada, and Cate; his sister-in-law, Vicki; his niece, Heidi; his great-nephew, Joe Nick; and several cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents, his older brother, Gerald, and his younger brother, Randy. He is missed by all who knew him and will be fondly remembered for his deep compassion and respect for all creatures and his zest for life. He was known to look around the table at his family with a loving grin and say, “We are rich!” His love of nature, learning, languages, and cultures lives on in his children and grandchildren.
A private memorial service for the family was held on Saturday, June 6, 2020. Memorials may be sent to Thomasville United Methodist Church (P.O. Box 185, Thomasville, AL 36784) or to the Joe Lee Griffin Hope Lodge (1104 Ireland Way, Birmingham, AL 35205).
Arrangements by O’Bryant Chapel Funeral Home.