During the Naples City council meeting today, a proclamation was read declaring August, 2012, as “Earl and Thelma Hodges Month” in the city of Naples. The honor is in recognition of the 50th
anniversary of the founding of the Hodges Funeral Chapel. Members of the Funeral Home, Hodges University, the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce and personal friends were on hand to share in the event.
Before reading the official proclamation, Naples Mayor John Sorrey III, a longtime friend of the Hodges’, had some fun with the occasion. “A Tennessee country boy and his belle have done pretty good with a whole month,” he said. “You guys should have gone for a whole year!”
Following the reading of the proclamation, Naples Humanitarian Peter Thomas spoke as well about the legacy of Earl and Thelma Hodges. “Earl and Thelma embody all that is good in the human spirit,” he said. “Earl Hodges enlisted underage to serve his country. He served in two wars, and brought that same dedication, that same love, to this city, and we’ve all benefitted.”
Earl Hodges came to Naples in 1956, taking a job as an assistant to the owner of Pittman Funeral Home. In 1961, Earl earned his Florida Funeral Home License and decided to open his own funeral home. The Hodges Funeral Chapel opened in 1962 and continues to serve the needs of the Naples community.
Thelma Hodges worked for many years as a Registered Nurse and was one of three original employees at the Naples Community Hospital (hired three months prior to its opening in 1956). Thelma proceeded to work for the hospital for more than 20 years and at different times was Supervisor of the operating room, central supply and emergency room.
Several events are in the planning stages for the month of August to further commemorate the anniversary.