Ralph B. “R.B.” Hodges, Retired Oklahoma State Supreme Court Justice, passed away on Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at the age of 82. He was born in Anadarko, Oklahoma, August 4, 1930, to Dewey and Pearl Hodges.
He graduated from Anadarko High School in 1948, lettering in football and baseball. Ralph graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University in 1952 and attained his law degree in 1954 from the University of Oklahoma. Justice Hodges was in private practice in Durant, Oklahoma from April 1954 to January 1957. In 1957, at the age of 25, he began his life of public service by being elected Bryan County Attorney. He became the youngest man in Oklahoma to be elected District Judge in 1958, and was reelected in 1962. He served 6 ½ years in this office before his appointment to the Oklahoma Supreme Court by Governor Henry Bellmon on April 19, 1965. At the age of 34, he became the youngest to serve on the Court since statehood. He was retained by the voters until his retirement in 2004 after serving on the judicial bench for 46 years. He served as Chief Justice in 1977-1978 and 1993-1994.
Justice Hodges was chosen as the nation’s outstanding state appellate judge by the Association of Trial Lawyers of America for 1976-1977. In 1982, he was the recipient of the first Media and Society Award given by the H.H. Herbert School of Journalism and Mass Communications for his efforts to allow cameras and microphones into Oklahoma courtrooms. He was active in the First Baptist Church of Durant, Oklahoma where he was Chairman of the Board of Deacons in 1964-1965. He served on the Board of Trustees of Oklahoma Baptist University, 1968-1971. He is a 33rd Degree Scottish Rite Mason and a former President of the Durant Kiwanis Club and the Durant Junior Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of the Putnam City Baptist Church in Oklahoma City.
Justice Hodges was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Janelle; and son, Randy. He is survived by his daughter, Shari (Greg) Spencer; his son, Mark (Barbara) Hodges; and Janelle’s four children, Tina (Joe) Geis, Dena Kamm, Micki (Bud) Chronister and Jeanne (David) Koos. He is also survived by his many beloved grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
The family would like to express their deepest appreciation to the staff on Hall 8 of Bellevue Nursing Center, along with his caregivers, Jemimah and Joyce, for their wonderful loving care of our dad. Last, but not least, we would like to recognize Justice Yvonne Kauger for her unfailing support of our dad and his family.
Dad was not only a great father, but a humble man whose qualities of honesty and integrity were witnessed by his word and deed to not only his family, but to the state he loved.
Services to celebrate Justice Hodges life will be held Tuesday, January 22, 2013, at 2:00pm at Putnam City Baptist Church, 11401 N. Rockwell Ave. Interment to follow in Resurrection Cemetery. Viewing will be from 2:00pm to 9:00pm, Sunday, January 20, 2013 and Monday, January 21, 2013 from 8:00am to 9:00pm, at Mercer-Adams Funeral Home in Bethany, Oklahoma. Contributions in his memory may be made to the College of Law Endowed Scholarship and Memorial Fund at the University of Oklahoma College of Law, 300 W. Timberdell Road, Norman, OK 73019 or to Free to Live Animal Sanctuary at PO Box 5884, Edmond, Ok 73083. Dad was blessed to have so many wonderful friends who walked this long journey with him. To share a memory or condolence, visit www.mercer-adams.com