Major George Hodge - 1928-2016
Wallingford Castle Chapter No.1165
Thames and Chilterns Chapter No. 1075
Born on the 24th May 1928, George was an Engineer. More than that he was a Military Engineer having served in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in ranks from Boy Soldier Apprentice through to his retiring rank of Major.
As an Engineer George wanted to know how things worked - the better to understand how things might be kept in sound working order; improved upon if possible, or, in extremis, repaired if broken. He brought all of these attributes to his many contributions to Masonry.
George was initiated into Freemasonry on 30th September 1964 whilst serving in the British Army of the Rhine, when he joined Saxony Lodge No 842. Those of us who delight in the congruence of numbers might like to take on board that one of George’s last Craft Lodges was the Vale of Loddon, in Berkshire, numbered 8421.
It was on joining the aforementioned Vale of Loddon Lodge that I first met George in May 1986. Over the ensuing months and years a friendship developed and he became the elder brother I never had.
In Berkshire George was Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden in Craft and Past Grand Scribe Nehemiah in Royal Arch but his love of, and devotion to, Knights Templar and Rose Croix carried him through to the highest offices in both those Christian Orders. In KT he was Past Great Registrar in the Great Priory of England and Wales whilst in Rose Croix he was a 32nd Degree Illustrious Prince.
In two different orders and during different periods of time I was Treasurer to his Secretary and it was then that I witnessed at first hand his meticulous administration of the Chapter or Preceptory concerned. Nor was this devotion merely a matter of pride. What drove him to an exemplary execution of his duties was the goal to ensure that no action of his should contribute to a brother failing to reach his potential advancement in rank. George worked for others not himself. Nothing illustrates that better than his willingness to go the extra mile by creating and editing Newsletters which were greatly appreciated by us all.
Freemasonry is about many things, not the least of which is “Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.” One of those catchy little phrases which sticks in the mind but which deserves considerably more thought than it is often given. How do you extend Truth as well as Brotherly Love when Truth can often be so hurtful. George managed to do so and when, for example, a standard had to be adhered to or a verbal chastisement administered George would do so in Truth but relieve the situation by a joke or witticism and a guffaw of Brotherly Love laughter at the end.
Conversations with George covered an eclectic variety of subjects not the least of which was his share in a boat moored nearby on the Thames. However far and wide they ranged, though, it was not long before the love of his family, the individual members of which were a source of great pride to him, came to the fore. They will miss him to a depth beyond words.
On 30th December 2016 Very Eminent Knight Major George Hodge, 32nd Degree Prince Rose Croix, commenced his pilgrimage to the Holy City. I for one have every faith that he has found the Word; is with the Great Captain of his Salvation and that there will be gusts and loud guffaws of laughter from him at every Festive Board he can attend.
And if confined to a one word descriptor which is synonymous with George; his philosophy of life and his impact on people, for me the apt descriptor of choice would be Laughter.