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Published: Friday, 10/28/2005

TPS principal was outspoken on school issues

Roy E. Hodge, Sr., a former principal at Fulton and Nathan Hale elementary schools in Toledo before moving to Dallas to care for relatives, died Oct. 21 in his home there. He was 69.

Mr. Hodge was struck suddenly with an illness, and doctors have not given a cause of death, his son, Roy Hodge, Jr., said.

A native of Dallas who attended high school in New York City, Mr. Hodge attended the University of Toledo on a football scholarship and won honors for his play during the mid and late 1950s.

At the time, Mr. Hodge was considered the fastest member of UT's football team.

He also excelled in the boxing ring, becoming a local Golden Gloves champion in 1956.

He played semiprofessional football in Toledo before being drafted into the Army. He served in Germany for a short time before returning to Toledo and beginning his career in education as a teacher at Robinson Junior High School in 1962.

"He was a community leader, outgoing, lovable, and outspoken," said Mr. Hodge, Jr. "He touched kids for about three generations. When you're in the school system for 30 years, you get to teach your students' kids and then their kids. He made contributions at every level."

Mr. Hodge, Jr., said his father was a longtime principal at Fulton and served about six years at Nathan Hale before retiring.

Mr. Hodge, Jr., said his father was known for being outspoken about the school district and issues in the community, even when it was not popular with the Toledo Public Schools' administration.

"He talked about things a lot of people were afraid to because it would hurt them in their pocketbook as far as promotions," Mr. Hodge, Jr., said. "He just never cared about that. If there was something that had to be said, he would say it."

Mr. Hodge, Jr., said as busy as his father was, he was a hands-on parent who attended sporting events and functions for all of his children.

"He would even show up at the practices," Mr. Hodge, Jr., said. "I played football and wrestled at St. Francis, and he would never miss a game. Some kids would wish for their parents to think their events were important enough to show up, but we never had to give it a second thought."

After retiring, Mr. Hodge returned to Dallas in 1991 to look after his mother, who was ill. He then became involved with the Dallas Independent School District.

Mr. Hodge served as a substitute teacher and became community liaison for the Martin Luther King, Jr., Learning Center.

"Principals would come by his house just to get advice," Mr. Hodge, Jr., said. "During his career, he lived for the families. He did more than test scores, but he was like a minister who touched families one by one."

Mr. Hodge, Jr., said his father looked after the welfare of his students and their families beyond the school hours and beyond the school year.

"The Old West End belonged to him," Mr. Hodge, Jr., said. "I attended the same school he was at. I remember riding with him when he was dropping other students off, getting them out of jail, and buying them coats in the wintertime. I was there through all of that. He really cared about the community."

Surviving are his son, Roy Hodge, Jr.; daughter, Robbi Hodge; brother, Robert Gourman; and four grandchildren.

A funeral was held for Mr. Hodge on Wednesday in Dallas. A wake service will be held at 10 a.m., followed by a memorial service at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Friendship Baptist Church, 5301 Nebraska Ave. Arrangements are by House of Day Funeral Services.



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