Franklin “Dale” Hodges, longtime resident of Ponca City and Newkirk, Okla., died in Enid, Okla., at the home of his loving sister and her family May 4, 2010. He was 74.
Dale, as he was known to family and friends, is survived by one sister and her family, Claudette Druse and husband Tom of Enid; three children and their families, Bob and Dawn Hodges of Kingsport, Tenn., Mike and Kim Hodges of Billings, Mont., and Tammy and Donnie Klinger of Ponca City; and seven grandchildren, Marie Hodges of Tucson, Ariz., Andrew Hodges and Jess stationed in Tokyo, Japan, Kanten and Hadley Klinger of Ponca City, Gavin Spears of Kingsport, and Grace Hodges of Billings, Mont.; and many nieces and nephews.
Dale was born Oct. 28, 1935, in Florence, to parents Bill and Grace (Christy) Hodges. He was the youngest son of five children. He lived in Florence until he graduated from high school in 1953. After high school, he volunteered for the draft for the armed forces to serve in Korea.
Upon completion of his tour, Dale returned to Florence, where he worked in the family bulk milk hauling business and married Ruth Ellen Freeborn. He and his family moved to Potwin where he worked for Vickers Petroleum. In the early 1960s, Dale moved his family to Tempe, Ariz., where he worked for his brother at his fencing company. They lived in Tempe until 1979 when he and the family decided to move “home” to the Kansas/Oklahoma area.
They chose Ponca City because of its small community and its closeness to family.
In Ponca City, Dale was a member of the VFW where he worked and volunteered his time. He sold insurance for American General, and later was one of the first drivers for Cimarron Community Transit Company. He later moved to Newkirk, and in 2008 moved to Enid.
In Arizona, he was involved in the Moose Lodge serving as an officer and leader for the lodge. He was best known for his help at bingo nights and dances, and the cook of the famous Friday night “Moose Burgers.” He was also active in the Tempe High School Future Farmers of America parent booster club. He and wife Ruth were named honorary future farmers because of their commitment to the club and their children.
Dale had a great love for nature and outdoors. He loved hunting, fishing, and gardening. In Arizona, he enjoyed going to the mountains with his family to camp, fish, and hunt. In Kansas and Oklahoma, he enjoyed “pond hopping” with his kids and grandkids. Dale was not only a good handyman and enjoyed “tinkering” with home and woodworking projects, he was an inventive and great cook. He loved taking old recipes and putting his own spins on them. He is most remembered for his “daddy green chili burritos” that all his kids asked for when visiting.
He was a talented country and western and “jitterbug” dancer, and passed on his love of all of these to his children.
Dale was always very proud of his family, which included not only his children and grandchildren, but also all of his brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews. He liked to visit the homes of his children when he could, and always tried to make grandkids sporting, music, and school events.
Dale had been a star baseball and football player in high school, and had even received a scholarship to play football at college in Pittsburg. He enjoyed being at baseball and basketball games to cheer on his grandkids.
There was a private family service May 8 in Pawnee, Okla., where he was put to rest near his parents and a brother.
Dale is preceded in death by his mother, father, two brothers, and two sisters.
He was son, father, grandpa, brother, uncle, and friend; he touched many lives in many ways; he was loved and respected by all; and he will be missed.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to Circle of Care Hospice in Enid.
The grass is full of murmurs;
The sky is full of wings;
The earth is full of breath.
With voices choir on choir
with tongues of fire,
They sing how life out-sings —
– Josephine Preston, Peabody