Valentine mourns loss of ‘passionate leader’

In loving memory: Jan Hodgson clutches a photo of her late husband Jim, adorned in his service medals. Mrs Hodgson said Jim would be missed terribly. Picture: Marina Neil

A FEARLESS leader, community servant and a devoted father and husband.

Valentine’s Jim Hodgson was all of these and more.

The retired Colonel has died at age 92.

“He’ll be missed terribly;I miss him terribly,” his wife of almost 28 years, Jan, said.

“Everybody’s been really sad [at the loss].

“You only have to look at the cards on the table to see how many people care.”

Colonel Hodgson was well-known among the local community as one of the Hunter’s most decorated war veterans.

He proudly but humbly wore 15 service medals, including anOrder of Australia medal, which he received in 2009 for his service to the welfare of veterans and their families in Newcastle and the Hunter region.

Colonel Hodgson had a long and distinguished military career, both part and full-time, spanning almost continuously from 1941 to 1973.

Joining the service as a fresh-faced 18-year-old, Colonel Hodgson served in World War II and the Vietnam War.

In between, he was an Australian military observer to the United Nations during the Kashmir dispute from 1965 to 1966.

After he retired,Colonel Hodgson was heavily involved in local Anzac Day services.

He led the annualparade at Swansea and, last year, proudly participated in Valentine’s first street march along Allambee Place.

In June he clocked up 70 years with Merewether RSL Sub-Branch.

He wasalso an associate member of Cardiff, Pelican and Speers Point-Boolaroo sub-branches.

But it wasn’t just his service duties that Colonel Hodgson threw himself into; he was also heavily involved in community groups and services.

He was the founding president of The Extremely Disabled WarVeterans’Association of Newcastle and Hunter Region; treasurer of theBelmont-Eastlakes Palliative Care Cancer Committee from 1992 to 1998; and a life member of the Probus Club of Swansea –just to name a few.

Secretary of the United Service Club in Newcastle, retired Major Roland Millbank, first met Colonel Hodgson when he moved to Belmont North several years ago and joined Pelican RSL Sub-Branch.

Major Millbank said Colonel Hodgsonleft an indelible mark on him.

“Colonel Jim was a very passionate leader,” he said.

“He always led from the front.He was never afraid to speak his mind.”

Colonel Hodgson is survived by four daughters, 11 grandchildren, 16 great grandchildren, and his loving wife Jan.

Comments are closed.