Remembering Bobby Hodges: A husband and boss who inspired others to be kind

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, March 27, 2024

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When asked what Bobby Hodges’ legacy teaches those who either knew him, or will come to know him through memories shared by his family and friends, his family and colleagues said kindness and compassion. 

Hodges, 68, was a co-owner and president of Paul Funeral Home & Crematory in Washington and Belhaven. 

“Bobby’s worst fault was to never say no to anyone,” Betsy, Hodges’ widow, said. 

Having his community’s welfare at heart made Hodges a well-known and beloved neighbor. It didn’t matter who asked Hodges for assistance, he was always willing and ready to lend a helping hand. 

“He never took recognition for what he did,” Betsy said. 

Together, Hodges and Betsy helped organize Stockings for Soldiers – a volunteer project where friends and neighbors across Beaufort County fill thousands of stockings during the holidays for soldiers overseas. The Hodges started the project eight years ago, and in that time, more than 7,000 stockings have been distributed, Betsy shared. 

During the holiday season, Hodges also dressed up as Santa Claus and visited patients and staff at ECU Health Beaufort. 

“Bobby was too good for himself,” his youngest brother, Mac said. 

Mac looked up to Hodges and saw him as a father-figure after their father passed away. 

One of Mac’s favorite memories of his brother is a trip they took to see the Green Bay Packers play the Dallas Cowboys on Dec. 13, 2015. Hodges loved to watch the Packers, and was an avid fan who could recall a myriad of statistics about the team from the 1960’s to present day. Knowing this, Hodges’ colleagues purchased heavy jackets, toboggans for him and Mac before they traveled to Wisconsin. When the brothers arrived in Green Bay, it was raining and a balmy 40 degrees. They had no rain gear, and too many layers of sweaters and jackets. 

“In preparing for that trip to go to Green Bay in December, you think it’s going to be cold,” Mac said. In December, the average high temperature in Green Bay is 31 degrees. “When we got there, there was a warm spell, and it rained. We did not prepare for no rain gear. We had to drive 50 miles from Green Bay to find rain gear, because everybody else had bought it all out.” 

Hodges’ colleagues admired and respected him saying Hodges’ death was a “great loss” for the Washington community, Billy Slade said. Hodges began working at Paul Funeral Home 1986 as a funeral director. 

Slade is a funeral director and embalmer who has worked at Paul’s for 31 years. He and Hodges were best friends. 

Slade said Hodges was a “sincere man who enjoyed a good laugh.” 

“He would give you the shirt off your back if he felt you needed it,” Slade said. 

Slade said that since Hodges’ death on Mar. 8, many people have asked what will happen next at the funeral home. Slade explained that it is his personal mission to carry out the vision Hodges and the late Bonner Paul, Sr. had. Paul, Sr. was the president and co-owner of Paul Funeral Home. 

“My vision for Paul Funeral home is for the vision of not only Mr. Bonner Paul, but Bobby Hodges to continue on, and for things to be done just as they would have wanted to be done,” Hodges said. 

Shelia Moore, an office manager at Paul Funeral Home began working with Hodges in 1998, but knew him long before then because both were raised in farming families. She said Hodges “poured his heart into every family he served.”