Billie C. Hodges 96 of Vega passed from this life November 17, 2018.
Graveside service will be at the Vega Memorial Park Cemetery Tuesday, November 20th at 11:00 am. Arrangements by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors, 2800 Paramount Blvd.
Billie was born April 29, 1922 in Vilonia, Arkansas to Elijah Emmett and Olga (Gragson) Hodges. After graduation from Vilonia High School in 1940, he worked in a movie theater and drove a dry cleaning truck before joining the US Navy in 1941 where he was accepted into the aviation mechanic school as a trouble shooter. When World War II started, he was encouraged to enter Officer Candidate Training School. He started navigation flight school at University of North Carolina as a cadet and received his wings and commission from the US Navy in Pensacola, Florida in multi-engine planes as an ensign and advanced to the rank of Lieutenant JG. Billie served our country flying Martin-Mariner PBM multi-engine sea planes (patrol bombers) in the South Pacific under General Douglas McArthur in the 7th Fleet. Billie was in 4 Invasions in the South Pacific and 3 Invasions in the Philippines. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross; 3 air medals; the Navy Citation and multiple ribbons during his military service.
While he was at home on a 30-day-leave when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima Japan. When the war was over Billie became an instructor at Banana River Air Force Base in Florida (currently Patrick AF Base). He then moved back to Vilonia where he worked for LeSage Liquor Company from 1947-1950. They needed a salesman in the Texas panhandle so he transferred and met the love of his life.
Billie married Doris Ella Cooper, on August 22, 1947, in Amarillo, Tx. While living in Amarillo and working sales, he bought a farm south of Vega in 1949 and farmed it on the weekends. In 1951 he went to work for General Mills as a salesman and traveled the tri-state area for two years (still weekend farming). Traveling from Amarillo to the farm for 3 years was getting old so, September 1952, he moved his family of 4 to Vega.
During his lifetime, Billie served on the Vega School Board and the Hereford ASCS Board. He was a member of the American Legion Post 168, the Masons and a Khiva Shriner.
Those preceding him in death were his wife, Doris, in 2000; his father Elijah; mother Olga; 4 brothers: Noel, Doyle, Dick and Lee; and 3 sisters: Eulalia “Sis” Bivins, Hazel Helms and Evelyn Lewis.
Survivors include 2 sons, Chris Hodges and wife Mary; and Jerry Hodges and wife Kimmi all of Vega. His 6 grandchildren are Brian Hodges and wife Autumn who are currently serving as medical missionaries in Ethiopia, Africa; Russ Hodges and wife Kaylie of Vega; Heather Gruner and husband Brad of Winterhaven, Florida; Chad Hodges and wife Tonya of Happy; Brooks Hodges and wife Amanda of Guthrie; Cree Baxter and husband J.D. of Amarillo.
His 18 great-grandchildren are Elisabeth, Abigail, John, Alexandria Hodges; Alex, Lily, Eli, Ava, and Jane Hodges; Brooklyn and Berkley Gruner; Bronc, Cutter, Quay and Kaci Jo Hodges; Clay and Charlee Hodges; Beau Baxter.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials be made to the Milburn – Price Culture Museum, Vega, TX 79092; Vega Emergency Medical Services or your favorite charity.
Viewing will be from 11am – 6 pm, Monday, Nov 19th at Boxwell Brothers Funeral Home, 110 Main, Vega, TX