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In their own words: Community pays tribute to mayor

As news of Washington Mayor Mac Hodges’ passing spread this week, friends and community members took to social media, sharing memories and tributes in his honor. These are some of the community’s recollections of Hodges, in their own words.

CATHERINE GLOVER — There are so many pictures I could post of Mac Hodges at ribbon cuttings and events throughout the years, where he always spoke and celebrated the community’s growth. However, when I saw this one, I smiled because before these sweet kids were recognized at City Council. My Will asked if he was going to meet someone famous. I told him yes, our Mayor Mac Hodges. He thought it was the best. Mac was an advocate for this town and our local businesses. He was a friend to me and I have known his family for as long as I can remember. I still have his last voicemail saved right before he got sick that told me we need to make something work with a piece of property downtown. He never led with arrogance, but with grace and lots of conversation. That’s rare these days. He helped make things happen because he listened and wasn’t afraid to have lots of conversations with everyone to make it happen. He knew everybody, loved by everybody and made me laugh a lot. He is going to be missed more than I can imagine right now.

JASON SHEPPARD — My heart is heavy today, just like many others in the Washington/Beaufort County community. Mac Hodges was not only a great mayor, but a great friend and human being. The last time I saw him was in the restaurant not long before his diagnosis. Although I’ve known him for much longer, these past few years, we became close. He was always there to listen and give guidance where he could. Lou Hodges, Beth Hodges Fickling and Sara H. Bell, our thoughts and prayers are with you, in this difficult time. Rest In Peace “Bear.” You will be missed, but the person you were will live on forever!

BILLY WEAVER — So very sad to hear about the passing of Mac Hodges. I will never forget the first time I met “Bear” 22 years ago, before my first football season at WITN. He acted as though he had already known me for 20 years prior. He was one of the most genuine people I have ever known. This is a huge loss for all of us and a big loss for ECU, as he was a Pirate to the core. Love and prayers to his family. RIP Bear.

(Chynna Bonner)

 

CHYNNA BONNER — My buddy Bear has gone on. He was my Mayor and my friend. I could call him to come to school for my students — be it an assembly or to read to them. On this day, he surprised me and showed up to celebrate the opening of my business with me. That’s the kind of caring person Mac Hodges was. Remembering our chats and laughs together, I will miss him dearly.

NICK SANDERS — Like the rest of our city, we are shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the death of our beloved Mayor and friend Mac “Bear” Hodges. Mac was both a visionary and the ultimate people person, a rare blend. He was a huge character whose positive impact on our beautiful city will be evident for many generations to come. He was a huge support to us as we navigated the complexities of renovating The Bank of Washington building, obtaining grants and changing the local zoning to allow distilleries to be located in the downtown. He was also a regular and valued customer. He not only helped us with our business, he introduced us to his friends and family and made us feel so very welcome. I also know that pretty well every other business owner downtown will have similar stories of his help and support. He touched so many people and made such a difference every day. Our heart goes out to his wonderful wife Lou and the rest of his family.

(Lisa Hodges)

LISA HODGES — I want my friends to have peace. Loving and living is painful. And in the words or my friend Lou, Mac Hodges’ s wife, wear a mask and socially distance. Mac is still with us. His legacy for our town is amazing. He’s loved us all, no matter our shortcomings, and I can tell you from personal experience just how meaningful that is. Our current streetscape is his vision. Thank you Mac. We love you and your family.

PHILLIP BRYANT — When I first moved to Little Washington years ago, Mac Hodges and I met on the waterfront walking my dog. I saw him almost every evening. Mac always took the time to talk to me and everyone on that river. He always made sure I was OK!

Mac said to me one night, “You know, we’re not trying to be Greenville here in Washington, we’re entertainment to Greenville, they come to us! Wouldn’t you much rather live where all the fun is at, Phillip? Look at that river! Come on now!”

It never made more sense to me to live in Little Washington after hearing Mac. Mac, we are praying for your amazing family. Thanks for all the great years and always taking the time to love on all people. I never heard you raise your voice in anger once and you never put God out of anything. That’s something to be proud of! See you on the other side Mac Hodges. Keep us in your prayers!

(Chrislyn Wedderien)

CHRISLYN WEDDERIAN — Goodbye, my friend. Our small little town of Washington North Carolina lost a great man to COVID-19. Mac Hodges “Bear” was our beloved Mayor and friend to all. We went to many of the same parties, fundraisers and celebrations of life events, with Carryout By Chrislyn serving the guests and Mac charming them. I first got Mac’s attention in a passed appetizer of candied bacon strips. The server that was walking the plate of bacon around the Turnage knew they had to stop by Mac.

I always enjoyed our talks about food and the southern traditions. Mac was very supportive of our mission to feed survivors of Hurricane Florence. He’d often stop in to see just what and where we were sending the meals. He offered assistance from the city in anyway necessary. I still remember Mac coming into the store and telling me that I was going to be the grand marshal in the Christmas parade. There was no opportunity to say no because he wanted me there and felt I deserved it. Being the grand marshal was one of the highlights of my life. I am eternally grateful to Mac for all of his support for my business, our mission to serve and his love for Washington. I will miss you, and I will watch out for Lou. Till I see you again my friend.

ALMA FREIDMAN — I remember Stan and I had dinner at On the Waterfront the Saturday night before Mac filed for election to run for Mayor. We talked a lot about him running. By the end of the night we had everyone in the oyster bar of restaurant yelling, “BEAR FOR MAYOR!” It was so awesome. He truly was such a good, caring mayor for our town. He will truly be missed.

ROLAND WYMAN — Our city, Washington, NC, lost a part of its heart and soul today. Mac was the inspiration and the driving force behind our downtown Streetscape project. Wouldn’t it be fitting if we named it after him?

(P.J. Connelly)

GREENVILLE MAYOR P.J. CONNELLY — We lost a great person today. Washington mayor and my friend, Mac Hodges, lost his battle with COVID-19. He was an amazing man, community leader, and loved our Pirates. Rest In Peace Mac, we will miss you.

N.C. REPRESENTATIVE KEITH KIDWELL — The City of Washington, the people and most importantly, his family, lost a good man today. Mac Hodges was an inspiration to all of us. I shall remember him as a great mayor. Always advocating for the citizens. Thank you Mac for your service. Thank you for being the man you were. Heaven has gained a true angel, we have lost a true leader. God grant you rest Mac.

U.S. CONGRESSMAN DR. GREG MURPHY — Eastern North Carolina has lost a true statesman. Washington Mayor Mac Hodges passed last evening after a courageous battle with COVID-19. He has been a force for good in Beaufort County for many years and his gentle demeanor and desire for community will be greatly missed. Rest in peace, my friend. Please everyone, pray for him and his family in this difficult and challenging time.

‪GOV. ROY COOPER — So very sorry to lose Mac Hodges, the great Mayor of Washington, NC, to Covid-19 related complications. I’m grateful to have worked with such a strong leader and ECU supporter who made a real difference in the lives of many.

ARTS OF THE PAMLICO — The twinkle in his eye shown brightly when Mayor Mac Hodges learned the Embers would be regular performers each Christmas time at AOP’s Historic Turnage Theatre. Each time those sweet eyes and infectious chuckle entered the theater, his deep love of Washington could be felt. His support of the arts, preserving the historic theater and increasing access to arts and cultural programs for all was unwavering. In this time of deep sorrow, may our fond memories of a sweet, sweet soul, remembrances of his bear hugs of support and steady hand of leading our City carry us on.

CITY OF WASHINGTON —  Today we lost a legend and a leader. Our esteemed Mayor, Mr. Mac ‘Bear’ Hodges, passed away due to COVID-19 complications.

We are heartbroken, very heartbroken. But we are also thankful for his amazing leadership, vision and, most importantly, the friendship he provided, always with a smile, to everyone he met and had an encounter with.

Our prayers and continued support are with the Hodges family. We are here for you. Please respect their privacy during this incredibly difficult time.

We will update you with on how the City will honor and recognize the mayor while working with the family.

As Mac would say, “Once a Pirate, always a Pirate!” ARGH.