Ervin E. “Erv” Hodges, 89, of Lawrence, died Saturday, June 8, 2019. He was born December 30, 1929 in rural Lawrence, the son of Alva and Kizzie (Brubaker) Hodges.
Erv graduated from Liberty Memorial High School and attended the University of Kansas. In 1948 he joined the U.S. Marine Corps and after serving three years in the Pacific was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1952.
He continued a 23 year military career that would take him to Japan, Korea, France and Vietnam. Erv also served with a Navy staff during two tours in the Mediterranean and Caribbean. He was particularly proud of his service as Commander of the U. S. Marine Guard at the American Embassy in Paris and as Commander of Helicopter Support Company in Marine Corps Test Unit #1. During the Vietnam War, Erv served with Headquarters III Marine Amphibious Force from 1967 to 1968 which included the Tet Offensive and Khe Sanh operations. He was awarded the Bronze Star medal with combat V for his service in Vietnam.
Following retirement from the Marine Corps as a Lieutenant Colonel, Erv joined the City of Lawrence as Director of Personnel, Assistant Director of Finance and Director of Utilities until his departure to Grinnell Corporation as a Regional Manager until 1990.
Returning to Lawrence, Erv was active in local service organizations including Bert Nash Mental Health Board, Sertoma, Meals on Wheels, Lawrence Kiwanis Club, the Jayhawk Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America, Trinity Lutheran Church and a 50 year member of the American Legion. He was honored to receive the Baker University Civic Service Award, Lawrence Public Schools Outstanding Citizen Award, Sertoman of the Year 2002, and Lawrence High School Hall of Honor. Recognizing a need to honor the many heroes of our community who have given their lives in service, Erv organized the Douglas County Memorial of Honor Foundation to create a Memorial featuring the sculpture “From the Ashes” by Jim Brothers at the Lawrence Visitors Center. In 1997 he was elected to the Lawrence City Commission and served as Mayor in 2000.
In 1951, Erv married Shirley Rothberger. They were blessed with 68 years of marriage. Erv is survived by wife Shirley, son Mark Hodges, and daughter Cynthia Fritzel (Tim). Five grandchildren; Erin Kozitza (Tim), Shannon Hodges (Isaias), Patrick Fritzel (Molly), Rebecca Koester (Patrick), Kylie Powell (Jason), and 10 great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, a sister Leta Mae Percival of Lawrence, and two brothers, Warren Hodges of Bel Air, Maryland and Merle Hodges of Salina.
The memorial service to honor Erv Hodges will be at Trinity Lutheran Church, 11:00 am, Saturday, June 15, 2019. Visitation will be Friday, June 14, 6:00-8:00 PM at Rumsey Yost Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to Douglas County Visiting Nurses Hospice or Trinity Lutheran Church, sent in care of Rumsey Yost Funeral Home, 601 Indiana Street, Lawrence, KS 66044. The family would like to sincerely thank the staff at Bridge Haven for the outstanding care provided, as well as Douglas County Visiting Nurses Hospice.