The Rev. Graham Rushing Hodges

Published 5:00 am Monday, July 12, 2004

Services for the Rev. Graham Rushing Hodges of Syracuse, N.Y.are 1 p.m., Saturday, July 17, at Plymouth Congregational Churchwith burial in Pine Plains Cemetery.

Visitation is Friday from 4-7:30 p.m., at at Maurer FuneralHome.

The Rev. Hodges, 88, died of cancer on July 9, 2004. He was bornin Wesson on Nov. 20, 1915, the second of seven children toFrederick Barry and Frances Graham Hodges.

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He graduated from Wesson High School. He received an Associateof Arts degree from Copiah-Lincoln Community College in 1935 and aB.A. degree from the University of Mississippi in 1937. In 1940 heearned an M.A. from the Yale University Divinity School.

He married Elsie Russell of Buffalo, N.Y., on July 21, 1941.Elsie Russell Hodges died in 2000. The couple was married for 49years.

During World War II, he served as a conscientious objector afterdeclining an automatic deferment given to members of the clergy.After his discharge in 1946, he became director of promotions forChurch World Services in New Windsor, Md. He served as pastor ofthe Congregational Churches in Ticonderoga and Crown Point, N.Y.from 1949-1956. For 24 years, until his retirement in 1979, he wasa pastor of Emanuel Congregational Church in Watertown, N.Y.

In addition to a busy pastorate, he was one of three founders ofJefferson Community College in Watertown. He was also president ofthe New York State Family Planning Coalition and was a foundingboard member of New York State Planning Advocates. Twice, hereceived the Margaret Sanger Award for his work in reproductiverights. In 1965, Hodges received the Sharpiro Award by theWatertown Chamber of Commerce as recognition for being Watertown’sMost Valuable Citizen that year.

An ardent opponent of the Vietnam War, he constructed amass-mailing of packages containing draft counseling materials andsent them to thousands of young men around the nation.

The Rev. Hodges published seven best-selling books for AbingdonPress of children’s sermons. The titles of these books include50 Children’s Sermons (1957), Sermons in Stories forChildren (1959), Thoughts are Things (1961),Talks for Children on Science and God (1964), 42Sermons for Children (1968) and Did Jesus Go toChurch (1982). After he turned 80, Hodges wrote two, 450 pageillustrated books about life in a small town in southernMississippi in the 1920’s, detailing all the facets of life there.He published a book, Things Remembered, about life in hisfamily over 59 years. He published a volume, A Dark NovemberDay, which contained the personal memories of Americans fromall walks of life about the assassination of President John F.Kennedy. He compiled three books of memories of former students ofYale Divinity School. Last year, he published a miscellany entitledGleanings. He published 500 articles in religious journalsand wrote many hundreds of editorial letters in national and localnewspapers from the late 1930’s to the present.

Survivors are his children, Mary Buckley of Liverpool, N.Y.,Graham Russell Gao Hodges of Hamilton, N.Y., Judith Rippeteau ofWashington D.C., and Janet Casler of Humble, Texas, and theirspouses; his sisters Lucille Bennett of Austin, Texas, and JessieAnna Furyear of Senatobia; and six grandchildren.

Memorials may be made to the Francis House, 108 Michaels Ave.,Syracuse NY, 13210.