David Roland Hodges
Dec 15, 1969 – Aug 13, 2015
David Roland Hodges, 45, formerly of Lakeland, FL, died at his home in Vashon, WA, on August 13, 2015, as the result of a pulmonary embolism.
He was born December 15, 1969, in Lumberton, NC, to Francis R. and the late Barbara Gillis Hodges. He attended primary and elementary school in Wayne County and Craven County, NC, and finished high school at the Milton Hershey Academy in Hershey, PA. In 1994, he graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from Florida Southern College, where he was a member of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity.
Dave was an avid outdoors’ enthusiast with a special love for fishing and water sports. Before he was two years old, he was able to swim underwater for the length of a public swimming pool. At Milton Hershey he was on the school swim team, and he later earned National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI) certification to qualify as a SCUBA teacher. The terrible damage to his lungs which eventually led to his death was sustained many years ago when his car was struck by an intoxicated, unlicensed driver while on a scuba diving trip in the Florida Keys. Dave recovered sufficiently to work for a few years as an aquatic sports instructor for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines in the Bahamas and in Labadee, Haiti, and for Red Sails Sports in the Cayman Islands. In more recent years, he had been employed at various other jobs, including those of automobile salesman, truck driver, construction worker, track coach, and Special Education teacher in both Florida and North Carolina. His skill at working with his hands enabled him to perform nearly any task required for maintaining or improving a home. At the time of his death, he was living on Vashon Island in Puget Sound and had recently completed a course to become eligible for a ship pilot’s license.
Though Dave’s life was filled with personal struggles, he took seriously the charge to serve others and always found time to do so. On several occasions, he assisted in serving Thanksgiving dinner to the homeless at Lighthouse Missions, and he often performed difficult tasks without pay. Recently, he spent a day digging a deep trench for a neighbor who needed a place to install a septic tank and lacked the funds to have it done.
In addition to his mother, he was preceded in death by his paternal and maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. F. Roland Hodges and Mr. and Mrs. David B. Gillis, all at one time residents of Mount Olive, NC. He is survived by his father and stepmother, Francis R. and Marianne M. Hodges, of Lakeland, Florida; his brother and sister-in-law, Lawrence Albert (Al) and Angela Hodges of Kathleen, Georgia; two nephews, Shea and Lincoln Hodges; one niece, Alana Hodges; an aunt, Charlotte H. Maxwell of Goldsboro, NC; two uncles, Milton B. Gillis of Louisville, KY, and Dr. David B. Gillis, Jr., of Houston, TX; and his beloved yellow dog, Shiddy, rescued by Dave when she was only eight weeks old. His wit, charm, and instant likeability have also insured that he leaves a large number of friends throughout many parts of the country.
Memorial contributions may be sent to the SPCA Florida Adoption Center, 5850 Brannen Rd S, Lakeland, FL 33813, or to your local SPCA.
My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends,
It gives a lovely light!
– Edna St. Vincent Millay
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