Gate City Luminary,Jeff Wilson Hodges, Jr, Has Died
Jeff Wilson Hodges, Jr. was born July11,1924, at Fairland, "Heart of Texas Hill Country" to Farm Carolyn Edwards and Jeff Wilson Hodges. Early schooling was in the same "one-room school building" his mother attended. Still standing to this day, it is a State Historic site. Jeffs' father a "railroad station agent" was transferred to Giddings, TX. a few miles from where he was born, Jeff Jr. began school in the 4th grade at Giddings, graduating in 1941. After graduation he enrolled at North Texas Agricultural College, in Arlington, Texas. "Pearl Harbor" happened that December. NTAC was a "junior version" of Texas A&M, "military." The years, 1942-43, cadets were called to active duty. My group in early '43 was called and assigned to Ft. Riley Kansas, a cavalry post. Basic training completed, several "Enlisted Reserve Corp members" were transferred to Air Cadet Testing Unit at Jefferson Barracks, MO. Testing completed, the group was sent to Western. Reserve University, Cleveland, 0H. for schooling, mostly math. Our physics professor was one "cool" instructor. His EOM: Iry Norden, He was the one responsible for the WW II "bombsite" that bears his name. The program was discontinued, plenty of pilots in the pipeline. A transfer to Ft. Monmouth, N. J., Hello Signal Corp. There, 33 were placed in a program. from which 30 were chosen. Six- 5- man teams were selected. Course completed and after two-weeks in Washington, D.C. at the Pentagon "Signal Center" we were dispatched via rail to San Francisco. Three teams sent to European theatre, three to the Pacific. My unit sailed from San Francisco. The "program" was "Radio Photo" (Facsimile anyone) After delivery of the "bomb" and surrender, service in Manila was "good". Successfully avoiding "occupation duty" in Japan" I was, with rank of Sgt. discharged from the 4026th Signal Photo Bn. at Ft. Bliss Texas, January 1946, six hundred plus miles from home.
Jeff Wilson Hodges, Jr. on returning from service in January1946, petitioned J. D. Giddings Lodge No.280, Giddings, Texas and was raised a Master Mason on October 4, 1946. The EA degree & examination was held in May '46. The Fellow Craft exam, was taken in Onion Creek Lodge (located outside of Austin) in August. My coach was a "railroad man" and he belonged to that lodge. (He wanted me to stand the exam in his lodge). We both worked for the railroad in Austin, and would meet and "get it right". Texas work is slightly different from Georgia work, especially in the EA Degree.
In May 1947 I applied for and was given employment by Acme Newspictures, Inc. in Ft.. Worth, TX. Two years later, in May 1949, I was transferred to Atlanta, Georgia as Chief Engineer, Southern Division. Ten of the original 30 Signal Corp personnel were employed by UPI in the years following the end of hostilities in 1945. The job, and location did not always allow time for "Masonic activity". The transfer from J D. Giddings Lodge #280 to Atlanta's Gate City Lodge #.2 in 1970 was the real beginning of my Masonic journey.
Having a dimit from my Texas Lodge, I petitioned Gate City Lodge No. 2, Atlanta in 1970. Once accepted by Gate City, a petition for membership was made to the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite Valley of Atlanta, and afterwards Yaarab Shrine Temple. I was accepted and began work in both organizations, December 1970.
The following December 1971,1 was appointed to serve as Chaplain in the officer line of Gate City, No. 2. In the year 1978, while serving as Junior Warden, I suddenly found myself in the East. That election night, the Senior Warden declined to move to the Masters station. I was elected to serve Gate City No. 2 as Master for 1979. Several years later, in 1990, I again began serving Gate City Lodge No 2 as Secretary, from 1990-2004, and again in 2007.
The years in the 70's were busy ones. Having already joined the AASR, Valley of Atlanta, and Yaarab Shrine Temple, I found myself also among the "Ladies of the Eastern Star." Faith Chapter No 504 immediately "put us to work." We served in the East as Worthy Matron. & Patron in 1973. I am still a "card carrying" member.
Activity in the Scottish Rite and Shrine was not neglected. I became a member of the "Scottish Rite Guard", and as such, duties called for "parking-lot details" and "horse- show parking details" as well as a lot of "activity," in and about the Temple. This activity warranted advancement to Knight Commander Court of Honor in 1975. KCCH "red hats" that year were presented in Savannah, Ga. Before the "red hat," & during," I was the 'gofer' for WB Wm. Hutcheson, 33rd, who at the time was Director of Work for Scottish Rite Valley of Atlanta. As his assistant in those "Red Hat" days, I never thought I would be able to "walk in his shoes," when suddenly I found myself in his place as "Director of Work." Question? How does a "Red Hat" tell (instruct) a "White Hat" what to do -- when? The answer :is VERY CAREFULLY . That problem was solved in 1981...1 received my "White Hat "& the 33rd degree in Tampa, Fl. I was Director of work until 1985 when events occurred, causing me to have to leave Atlanta for "Whitewater Duty" in Ducktown, TN. During the early years, l had been active in ritual work, taking parts in numerous degrees, such as 15th, 20th ; 21st ; 30th; and the 32nd which I conferred for several years. (In those years we had an "army" of folks on stage for the 32nd ) I have had the "honor & pleasure" of working with some of the "very best" ritualists that could be assembled. In 1984 I sat as "Venerable Master of the Lodge of Perfection", and did double duty in the York Rite as "High Priest" of Mt. Zion Chapter, RAM. On return from exile in Tennessee in 1990, I reclaimed my role as the "Chief Frank Judge" in the 30th degree. He was a hanging Judge.
I received an opportunity to become part of the Ritual Cast of the 33rd Degree Conferral Team. I served in the cast as Lt. Grand Commander, from "1993 until "2007."
I was a member of the Appalachian Mountain Scottish Rite Association, headquartered in Jasper, Ga. The "mountain associations" (of northern Georgia) were responsible for the 70 & 80's growth of membership in the Atlanta Valley, Georgia Scottish .Rite. Jasper was one of the early and most active of all the associations "scattered" throughout north Georgia- I served as the last President of the Association in its final year, 2003.
I have been a member of the "Scottish Rite Foundation of Georgia Inc." for over 20 years, having served as President in 2005. This foundation is composed of 33 members who are 33 degree masons hailing from all Valleys in the State of Georgia. All members serve at the pleasure of the SGIG. They are either "elected or appointed" by the Sovereign Grand Inspector General.
YORK RITE JOURNEYS
I was Exalted in Mt. Zion Chapter No.16, November 12, 1977. I progressed through the officers line, serving as High Priest in 1984. Received The Order of High Priesthood in 1984. In the year 2001, it was my pleasure and honor to serve as the Grand Sentinel for my good friend, William Douglas Miles, Grand High Priest, 2001- 2002.
I was greeted in Jason Burr Council No.13 on November 12, 1977. Elected to the officers line in 1993, I proceed forward to the Illustrious Masters chair in 1998. I received the order of Silver Trowel in 1998 and in the same year, Thrice Illustrious Master. I was chosen ONE of the “22 MEN from GEBAL”i the award given that year by Illustrious Grand Master Ed Jennings.
I received the Commandery orders, November 17, 1990, being Knighted by Right Eminent Grand Commander Ted Holt Hendon. (Atlanta #9) My first meeting in Atlanta #9, I was given the Black Ritual and assigned task of learning the "Order of the Red Cross" by Commander of Atlanta #9, Sir Knight Eugene Lowery. After a short time (next year,1992) I started in the officers line, and the next year I was called to confer the Order of Red Cross. I was elected Commander of Atlanta #9 in 1999. My installing officer was Shepherd G. Pryor, PGC and a legend in Atlanta #9, In 2000 I placed my name for consideration to serve in the Grand Commandery line. I was elected Warder after "many" ballots (7). I am presently serving as REG Commander, 2008-9. In 2002 I received the Grand Commanders Award (Green) from Sir Knight Earl D. Harris, then Grand Commander. In this same year several of us took "Knight Crusaders of the Cross" orders in Mobile, at ALABAMA 'S Grand Conclave in 2002.
RED CROSS OF CONSTANTINE
In 1990 I was elected to membership in St. Ambrose Conclave, Red Cross of Constantine. I was initiated in 1991 and progressed through the officer line, becoming Puissant Sovereign in 2006. At the Grand Imperial Conclave held in Salt Lake City, in 2005 I received an unexpected "appointment" to the grand line station of Grand Herald of the United Grand Imperial Council, Red Cross of Constantine. The incoming Sovereign for the Supreme Council, Charles R. Baddour making the appointment. It was my pleasure to serve in that station for one year. In the year 2006 I planned and organized a well-attended Southeastern Regional Assembly held in Atlanta.
HOLY ROYAL ARCH KNIGHT TEMPLAR PRIEST
In 1991 elected to membership in FIDELITAS TABERNACLE No. LXXVII. Holy Royal Arch. Knight Templar Priest located in Atlanta. Presently sitting as the 6th Pillar in a progressive line
ALLIED MASONIC DEGREES
Charter member: North Atlanta Council No. 313, Past Sovereign Master; Royal Ark Mariner, Past Commander Noah, Knight of the Red Branch of Erie 1998 and an Honorary member, Zarthan Council, Chamblee
K.Y.C.H. - Member Cherokee Rose Priory # 56, (One Quadrant) Member since August 29, 2000.
YORK RITE COLLEGE—Luther G. Palmer College #123, "Order of the Purple Cross" Associate Regent; Knight of York Ritual Cast
KNIGHT MASONS—Charter member "Carl F. Lester, Jr. Council #56 (Rotates meetings between several cities within Georgia) Past Excellent Chief 2006-07
Royal Order Of Scotland- 2008; Georgia Lodge of Research—Past Master 2002; Atlanta Masonic Club #1---Past President 1998; SRICF—Rosicrucian -Grade VII 1996.
Order of the Thistle; Order of the Bath; Order of the Cork; Mule Skinners of Molikai;
Order of the Rock ("Master Lookout")
Eastern Star---Worthy Patron 1973 Faith Chapter OES
Shrine - Yarrab Shrine Temple---Arab Guard, Royal Order of Jesters, El Hajj