Reverend Oliver Rankine Hodge
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November 27, 1926 - August 19, 2013
Our dad, grandpa, and great-grandpa, Oliver Rankine Hodge, passed away on Monday, August 19, 2013 at St. Paul's Hospital in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He kept his sense of humour through a lengthy hospital stay. Oliver was like a strong wind blowing across the three Prairie Provinces where he worked and played. He was entrepreneurial, community minded, spiritual, talented, intelligent, creative, enthusiastic, and could tell a joke for any occasion.
Oliver was born in 1926, on a small Manitoba farm near MacGregor, and he spent his childhood learning to build things from wood and metal and helping on the family farm, milking cows by the age of six. His mother, Amy Helen Bryce, was Scottish, and his father, William John Hodge, was Irish. This blend of backgrounds enabled him to have heated discussions with himself, and may have accounted for his frugality, and stubbornness. The same traits ensured that if Oliver had a creative idea, he made it happen.
This was a man who owned his own weekly newspaper by age 21 and at the same age married Roberta Jean Frost. He graduated from University with a Theology degree at age 32. His daughter Maureen Lynn was born on a paper day, and his son William Oliver was born on a church day. Although he never appeared to let family issues distract him from his work life, he did forget to take up the collection on the day his son was born.
As a family, we moved to many wonderful towns where dad served as a minister, renovated the manses, and sat on various boards and councils. He often told us that if you are going to get involved you might as well be president. We thought this was so he could delegate the jobs, but it was likely so he could determine the length and efficiency of the meetings.
For Oliver, it was never too late to fulfill a dream. At the age of fifty, he became a pilot. Transportation was a bit of a theme in his life; he loved cars, owned planes, and built or bought several recreational vehicles. Roberta and Oliver travelled to many countries and attended conferences for the newspaper, the church, and square dancing. Yes, Oliver loved to square dance in spite of those size 13 narrow feet. He often wondered how tall he'd have been "if there was less turned up at the bottom."
His love for newspaper publishing converged with his theological interests in Bow Island, Alberta, where he merged the two careers into one life. He and Roberta started the Forty Mile County Commentator in 1971, while he became the minister of Bow Island's United Church. He kept these lives separate, avoiding a potential conflict of interest. His unique career blend made him newsworthy in several publications.
Oliver became president of the Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association in 1980 and became a life member in 1991. He was awarded the Bill Draayer Award for outstanding service to the association in 2003.
While residing in Bow Island, Oliver was instrumental in obtaining funding for a recreation component on The Forty Mile Reservoir. He was delighted when a viewing center in the area was named after him. It is rumoured that a water monster named Oliver dwells in the lake Oliver helped create.
Some of our family went ahead of Oliver to the next life. Roberta Jean Hodge, Oliver's wife of fifty-four years, passed away in Saskatoon in 2002, as did his daughter-in-law Gloria Jean (Schell) Hodge. His brother Roy Hodge passed away in 2013.
Family members who will miss Oliver are his daughter Maureen (Gordon) Haddock; his son Bill (Valerie) Hodge; six grandchildren, Michelle (Brett) Pawson, Nicole (Chad) Kozar, Melanie Hodge, Todd Hodge, Shannon Geravelis, and Jessica Geravelis; and five great-grandchildren, Jarrett Pawson, Jax Pawson, Anjolena Hodge, Odin Kozar, and Willow Kozar; one brother Jim (Louise) Hodge; Oliver's special friend Vie Reynolds; and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family wishes to thank the nurses and doctors of all the Saskatoon hospitals where dad spent time over the last few years, and especially the nursing staff on the seventh floor at St. Paul's Hospital, where he spent his last five weeks. They took care of all of us on more than one occasion. We also send our thanks to The Franklin where dad lived for five years, and Prairie Springs Care Homes where he resided for nine months. We have formed many friendships at both places.
A memorial service for Oliver will be held at 1:30 pm on Sunday, August 25, 2013, at McClure United Church, 4025 Taylor Street E, with Rev. Ron McConnell officiating. Memorial tributes may be made to McClure United Church, or the Saskatoon hospital of your choice.
Arrangements are in the care of MARTENS WARMAN FUNERAL HOME (306-934-4888). Condolences may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com.
Oliver is definitely On the Road Again!
We will miss you PoPo.
Published in The Saskatoon StarPhoenix from Aug. 20 to Aug. 22, 2013