Ervin E. ‘Erv’ Hodges, Lieutenant Colonel, USMC (Ret)

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.

Messages & Condolences

From George Catt...

Dear Shirley and family: What family man, patriot, community leader and friend. I think back to Buck and Kizzie, and how proud they were of all four children. My deepest sympathy to you all. I was proud and thankful for having the privilege to have known him.

From Dolores Palmer...

To all the Hodges family,
As you may already know, ,my husband Bob Palmer, died July 2018. We were long-time members of Trinity Lutheran and and Bob greatly admired his fellow Marine. Sincere sympathy to you all.

From Mary Gordon...

We have lost an icon–a large icon–literally and figuratively.! Erv was the epitome of service–to his family, friends, city, and country. Where he saw a need, he worked to fill it. My admiration of him had no bounds. We are all blessed to have known him and to have been touched in some way by his work and dedication to make things better. He will always be my hero. My deepest sympathy goes to you, Shirley, and your family. Erv will always remain in our hearts. He has been in my prayers for a recovery–but, I guess, God had other plans. With sadness and gratitude for knowing him, Mary Gordon

From Marcia Riggins...

Mark, so sorry for your loss. Loved how your dad would come and talk to the Pioneer Pod about life as a marine both for him and then what it meant for his family too. Loved listening to the stories he would share. Also such a treat seeing him at hyvee on my early morning shop where he and a group of gentlemen seemed to enjoy solving the struggles of the day! Honored to have met him. So sorry for your loss!

From Julia Ingrassia...

Deepest condolences to Mrs. Hodges, Mark, Cindy and their families. Erv was the most honorable and kind man, many people are in a better place because of his enduring efforts. A man I have admired very deeply for so many years. There are never enough words, again, so terribly sorry about your loss.

From Greg DiVilbiss...

I am so sorry to hear of Erv’s passing. I got to know him when I moved to Lawrence in 2001. He was very involved in helping us as a commissioner to get our projects approved. One thing that I will miss is his great smile and friendly nature. I am not sure I ever saw him with out a grin on his face. The community has lost a great leader, a sad day indeed.

From Doug Brown...

A great man who served his country and community with honor. Great respect and sadness at his passing.

From Carmen Hocking...

My sincere condolences to all of you. Erv was a great man whom I had known most of my life. Erv always made a point to talk to me at church. He will be greatly missed. Sending prayers and hugs.

From Elaine Rush Lorenzen...

The very BEST friends anyone could ever have…. Erv & Shirley!!! So many good times & good humor!!! Laugh until falling off the chair!! And good comrade too… so loyal & patriotic & even great BIG 12 competition between us… remember “what is a Cyclone?”…. “well what is a Jayhawk? “ Erv always so loyal… his God , his wife & family, the USA, Kansas & especially Lawrence? With happy smile & we loved hearing his whistle when outside tending garden & yard. Love & prayers to you Shirley , Mark & Cindy & families. Know you’ll miss him terribly. Thank God for this great man & his Service to man/woman & country!!! Loved this big Teddy Bear!!!!!

From Debbie Liddel...

I worked with Erv on Toys for Tots. A great man. He will be missed by many.

From Kim Murphree...

This is very sad news. Prayers for family and friends and the entire community. We have lost an amazing man, who served with his whole heart, this country and this community. I am so grateful that I was blessed to have a chance to know him. He was a light to this world and a friend to so many! I am so grateful that he was with us for the 2017 Veterans Day Parade in Lawrence; for the ceremony in North Lawrence; he was such a support! God bless you Erv; and Godspeed.

From Jo Ellen Kasson...

Shirley, I don’t even know where to begin or what to say… you both were the best friends my parents could ever ask for and our memories of that friendship go back a long time. What I can do is send my love to you all! Erv was a wonderful man and will truly be missed by everyone who knew him.

From Debbie Strange...

To Shirley, Mark, and Cindy,
John, Jay Mikaela and I send our deepest sympathies to you all. We are sending many hugs and prayers to each of you. Know you’re in our thoughts. He was a great man, who we are honored to call Uncle.

From Mary Howe...

Dear Mark,
We are so sorry about your father’s death. I only met him a few times, Rick more often, but he was memorable for his open-hearted good humor. The death of your parent tilts the world on its axis. Sending love and sympathy from both Rick and me.

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