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John Grady Hodges

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Title:
John Grady Hodges Apalachicola anecdotist (1911-1998)
Physical Description:
1 online resource (4 p.) : ill. ;
Language:
English
Creator:
Buck, Morison
Publisher:
Morison Buck
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Fla
Publication Date:

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Judges -- Biography -- Florida -- Hillsborough County   ( lcsh )

Notes

Original Version:
Originally published as part of the "Chips off the Old Bench" column: Tampa, Fla. : Hillsborough County, November 1999, Lawyer under title:
General Note:
Title from caption.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
usfldc doi - B28-00004
usfldc handle - b28.4
NEW
System ID:
SFS0000049:00001


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Full Text

PAGE 1

Joh n G r ad y H od ge s A p al ac h i c ol a A n e c d ot i s t ( 1911 1998) I m m or t a l t hi nke r A r i s t ot l e 's c om m e nt a bout a pl a y a ppl i e s t o m or t a l m a n's l i f e a s w e l l A pl a y, he s a i d, ha s a be gi nni ng a m i ddl e a nd a n e nd. J ohn H odge s ha d hi s be gi nni ng on A ugus t 29 191 1. H i s bi r t h c e r t i f i c a t e on f i l e i n A t l a nt a G e or gi a doc um e nt s t ha t he w a s bor n a l i v e A l i ve he w a s a nd l i ve he di d w i t h gus t o, f or t he e ns ui ng e i ght y s i x pl us ye a r s H ow i s i t t ha t a 4t h ge ne r a t i on F l or i di a n, w hos e a nc e s t or s s e t t l e d i n A pa l a c hi c ol a or e nvi r on s w a s bor n s uc h a di s t a nc e a w a y? W e l l t he r e w a s no hos pi t a l i n F r a nkl i n C ount y. M or e ove r i t i s be l i e ve d t he ne w ba by's f a t he r J os e ph H a r pe r H odge s w a nt e d hi s f i r s t bor n t o t a ke hi s f i r s t b r e a t h i n A t l a nt a T he s e ni or H odge s w a s 33 a t t he t i m e but J ohn w ho a l s o s i r e d t hr e e c hi l dr e n out di d ol d da d by not m a r r yi ng un t i l a ge 40 F or t hos e not a c qua i nt e d w i t h t he a r e a h i s t or i a ns t e l l us t ha t t he por t of A pa l a c hi c ol a w a s n't e s t a bl i s he d unt i l 1822 w he n P r e s i de nt M onr oe a ppoi nt e d a por t c ol l e c t or B e f or e t h e n, t he I ndi a ns ha d oc c upi e d t he t e r r i t o r y f or 10 000 ye a r s I t s s t r a t e gi c l oc a t i on m a de i t t he s i t us of a na va l bl oc ka de by U ni on f or c e s dur i n g t he C i vi l W a r D u r i ng W or l d W a r I I a m a j or A r m y A i r C or ps a i r f i e l d w a s e s t a bl i s he d. N e a r by w a s C a m p G or don J oh ns t on, one of a bout 200 t e m por a r y m i l i t a r y i ns t a l l a t i ons i n t he S uns hi ne S t a t e D r J ohn G o r r i e a phys i c i a n, i s c r e di t e d w i t h de ve l opi ng t he f i r s t i c e m a ki ng m a c hi ne w hi l e l i vi ng i n A pa l a c hi c ol a T he f o r m e r H yde P a r k G r a m m a r S c hool i n T a m pa w a s gi ve n hi s na m e i n 1915, a nd ha s s i nc e be e n c a l l e d G o r r i e E l e m e nt a r y T oda y A pa l a c hi c ol a i s be s t know n f or i t s s e a f ood r e s t a ur a nt s I t s popu l a t i on i n 1997 w a s 2700 pe opl e a nd t he t ow n boa s t e d 22 e a t i ng pl a c e s O ys t e r ha r ve s t i ng w a s f or m e r l y a m a j or i ndus t r y, but gr ow t h, ha bi t a t i nc ur s i ons a nd de ve l opm e nt a ppe a r t o ha ve de c i m a t e d i t H odge s ha d a r e m a r ka bl e l i f e T he m a n di d s o m a n y t hi ngs w e l l : ne w s pa pe r r e po r t e r l a w ye r s oc i a l l i on j udge m e di a t or t e a c he r out do or s m a n, s c out l e a de r hus ba nd a nd f a t he r T he r e w a s l i t t l e t ha t J ohn H odge s l e f t undo ne i n t he c ou r s e of hi s l o ng l i f e H i s l onge vi t y s ur e l y w a s ge ne t i c a l l y l i nke d t o hi s m o t h e r A l i c e S t C l a i r H odge s S he l i ve d t o be 101 ye a r s o f a ge H odge s a t t e nde d E m or y U ni ve r s i t y, but di d not r e c e i ve a n unde r gr dua t e de g r e e ( none w a s r e qui r e d a t t ha t t i m e ) H e w a s a young m a n i n a hur r y s o he a ppl i e d f or a dm i s s i on t o G e or ge t ow n U ni ve r s i t y L a w S c hool a nd w a s a c c e pt e d. W hi l e i n s c hool he w or ke d ni gh t s a s a c ub r e por t e r f or t he W as hi ngt on T i m e s H e w a s a w a r de d hi s L L B d e g r e e i n 1939 T he w a r c l ouds w e r e a l r e a dy f u l l y f o r m e d ove r E u r ope s o he de c i de d i t w a s a pr opi t i ous t i m e t o s e e k a c onne c t i on w i t h t he U ni t e d S t a t e s N a vy. L e s s t ha n t w o w e e ks H i l l s b o r o u g h C i r c u i t J u d g e s a t a f i s h i n g h o l e s o m e h w e r e B e t w e e n 1 9 6 0 a n d 1 9 6 5 L e f t t o r i g h t : H i d g e s M c M u l l e n S a n d l e r M o o d y S p o t o a n d M a x w e l l

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pr i or t o hi s 30t h bi r t hda y he w a s c om m i s s i one d a n E ns i gn i n t he N a va l R e s e r ve H i s a ppl i c a t i on w a s s uppor t e d by l e t t e r s f r om i nf l ue nt i a l pe opl e i n hi s ho m e t ow n l i ke H L O l i ve r P r e s i de nt of t he A pa l a c hi c ol a S t a t e B a nk. B e f or e be i ng c a l l e d t o a c t i ve dut y, H odge s c om m e nc e d t he pr a c t i c e of l a w i n T a l l a ha s s e e a s a n a s s oc i a t e i n t he f i r m of l a t e r G o ve r nor L e r oy C ol l i ns T ha t c onne c t i on w oul d pr ove va l ua bl e t o hi m a f t e r C ol l i ns w a s e l e c t e d G ove r nor i n 1954. I t s houl d be a dde d t ha t ha vi ng J ohn H odge s he a d up hi s c a m pa i gn i n H i l l s bor ough C ount y w a s a s t r oke of good f or t une f or C ol l i ns H e c a r r i e d t hi s c ount y w he r e he w a s not w e l l know n a nd not e xpe c t e d t o do w e l l Y e a r s be f or e gi vi ng a ny t hought t o pol i t i c a l c a m pa i gns J ohn's t i m e w a s gi ve n t o na va l dut y, s e r vi ng a s bot h a n i nt e l l i ge nc e of f i c e r a nd, l a t e r a s a gunne r y of f i c e r i n bot h t he A t l a nt i c a nd P a c i f i c t he a t e r s H e w a s di s c ha r ge d i n e a r l y 1946, i n t he r a nk o f L t C om m a nde r I nc l ude d i n hi s m e m o r a bi l i a i s a c e r t i f i c a t e c om m e ndi ng hi m f or hi s s e r vi c e i s s ue d by P r e s i de nt T r um a n on M a r c h 17, 1946. I n J ul y of t he l a t t e r ye a r he w a s a pp oi nt e d A s s t U S A t t or ne y i n T a m pa unde r t he l ongt i m e pr os e c ut or H e r be r t P hi l l i ps P hi l l i ps w h o w a s or i gi na l l y a ppoi nt e d by W oodr ow W i l s on, w a s l a t e r s w e pt out of of f i c e du r i ng a R e publ i c a n a dm i ni s t r a t i on a nd t he n r e a ppoi nt e d by F D R T he r e c a n be l i t t l e doubt t ha t t he ne w pr os e c ut or i n t ow n got c a ught up i n T a m pa 's s oc i a l w hi r l a ha nds om e w e l l t ur ne d out 35 ye a r ol d ba c he l or j us t hom e f r om t he B i g O ne H e r e 's w ha t S a r a K e l l e r H obbs ha d t o s a y i n O c t obe r 1946 i n he r s oc i e t y c ol um n i n t he T r i bune : A n at t r ac t i v e addi t i on t o our e l i g i bl e m e n about t o w n i s J ohn H odge s w ho hai l s f r om A pal ac hi c ol a and w ho i s an A s s t i n t he U S D i s t r i c t A t t or ne y s of f i c e H e w as a L t C dr i n t he N av y dur i ng t he w ar i s br une t t e and c har m i ng, and s houl d m ak e t he he ar t s of t he l oc al e l i gi bl e y oung l adi e s s k i p at l e as t t hr e e or f o ur be at s "R e d Sk e l t on ( or pe r haps F i bbe r M c G e e ) m i ght hav e s ai d, "O l d f our be at J ohn, he w as k now e d as i n t hos e day s H odge s qui c kl y be c a m e a m e m be r o f t he e l i t e M e r r ym a ke r s C l ub. F o r m e r j udge J ohn G e r m a ny, now i n pr i va t e pr a c t i c e s a ys hi s e a r l i e s t m e m or y of J ohn H odge s i s w he n he br ought t he a s s e m bl a ge of young r e ve l e r s t o ne a r h ys t e r i c a l l a ught e r w i t h hi s i m pe r s ona t i on of C l a ude P e ppe r J ohn a l s o a c c e pt e d a n i nvi t a t i on t o j o i n Y e M ys t i c K r e w e of G a s pa r i l l a I n 1949, he w a s a c a ndi da t e f or K i ng o f t ha t c i t a de l of T a m pa 's s oc i a l s upe r s t r uc t ur e L e a vi ng t he U S A t t or ne y's of f i c e i n 1947, he t e a m e d up w i t h J oe G i l l e n, a l s o a f or m e r f e de r a l p r os e c ut or t o f or m t he f i r m of G i l l e n & H odge s I t s he a dq ua r t e r s w a s i n t he P e t t e w a y B ui l di ng ( c or ne r o f T w i ggs & F l or i d a A ve s ) N e i l M c M ul l e n ( l a t e r a c ol l e a gue on c i r c ui t c our t ) p r a c t i c e d l a w a t t ha t l oc a t i on w i t h hi s f a t he r D on M c M ul l e n. I n t he e a r l y 1950's G i l l e n w or ke d a s U ni t e d S t a t e s D i s t r i c t J udge J oh n B a r ke r 's l a w c l e r k, t he n be c a m e C l e r k of t he S e c ond D i s t r i c t C o ur t i n L a ke l a nd, w he r e he s e r ve d w i t h di s t i nc t i on. M a ny l a w ye r s i n t r i a l p r a c t i c e r e m e m b e r G i l l e n's s on, G uy w ho w a s i n c ha r ge of our c i r c ui t c our t j ur y s ys t e m I n t he c our s e o f hi s l a w ye r i ng J ohn ha ndl e d a n um be r of hi gh p r of i l e c a s e s O ne r e c e i vi ng w i de s pr e a d publ i c a t t e nt i on w a s w he n H odge s w a s a s s o c i a t e d a s c ouns e l w i t h C J a y H a r de e S r r e pr e s e nt i ng J oe P r ove nz a no, w ho w a s on t r i a l f or m ur de r i n e a r l y 1949. J udge H a r r y N S a ndl e r pr e s i de d. A t t o r ne ys f or t he de f e ns e w e r e a n i nc ongr uous pa i r H a r de e w a s a l oud, t ough, a nd a ggr e s s i ve c r i m i na l de f e ns e l a w ye r H odge s w a s

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m or e r e s t r a i ne d a nd pol i s he d, but no l e s s e f f e c t i ve T he de f e ns e t e a m p r e va i l e d ove r a t r i o c ons i s t i ng of S t a t e A t t o r ne y J R e x F a r r i o r hi s a s s i s t a nt F r e d T S a us s y, a nd s pe c i a l pr os e c u t or G r a dy B ur t on, of W a uc hul a T he c a s e w e nt t o t he j u r y a t 6: 00 p m A t 6: 15, t he f or e m a n a nnounc e d t ha t t he j u r y ha d r e a c he d a ve r di c t C l e r k R a ym ond V e gue ga ve i t t o j udge S a ndl e r w ho g l a nc e d a t a nd ha nde d i t b a c k t o t he c l e r k w ho r e c i t e d t ha t M r P r ove nz a no ha d be e n f ound not gu i l t y. A f t e r L e r oy C ol l i ns be c a m e G ove r nor H odge s w a s r e w a r de d w i t h a ppoi nt m e nt a s a t t or ne y f or t he S t a t e B e ve r a ge D e pa r t m e nt I n 19 60, he w a s one o f t h r e e c hos e n ( pr i o r t o t he pr e s e nt J udi c i a l N om i na t i ng C om m i s s i on pr oc e s s ) a s c i r c ui t j udge s of t hi s c i r c ui t t he ot he r s be i ng N e i l C M c M ul l e n a nd O l i ve r M a xw e l l J udge H odge s s e r ve d unt i l h i s r e t i r e m e nt i n 1981, w i t hout e ve r f a c i ng oppos i t i on. J udge H odge s m a i nt a i ne d s e ve r a l s c r a pbooks w i t h r e c or ds of hi s m i l i t a r y s e r vi c e l e ga l c a r e e r vol un t e e r dut y w i t h B oy S c out s hi s s oc i a l a c t i vi t i e s a nd f i na l l y, hi s j udi c i a l r e c or d s pa nni ng m or e t ha n 20 ye a r s H i s w i f e M a r y R ut h, m a de t hos e pi e c e s of m e m or a bi l i a a va i l a bl e f o r us e a nd t he w r i t e r i s i nd e bt e d t o t ha t g r a c i ous l a dy f o r he r a s s i s t a nc e H e r e i s a s hor t s t a t e m e nt a bout a f e w of t he i m por t a nt de c i s i ons r e nde r e d by t he j udge dur i ng h i s t e nur e : ( a ) I n 1963, he i nva l i da t e d a C i t y o f T a m pa B l ue O r di na nc e t ha t b a nne d t he s a l e on S unda y of s om e 43 i t e m s m os t l y goods of f e r e d by di s c ount hous e s a nd c ha i n s t or e s I t s r ul i ng t ha t t he l a w w a s di s c r i m i na t o r y a nd un f a i r w a s a ppl a ude d e di t or i a l l y by t he T r i bune ( b) I n S e pt e m be r 1963 he de c i de d t ha t p r i va t e l e s s e e s of T a m pa P or t A ut hor i t y pr ope r t y w e r e not e xe m pt f r om c i t y a nd c ount y t a x e s ( c ) I n J a nua r y, 1966 he r ul e d t ha t 18 pr i va t e p r ope r t y ow ne r s c l os e t o T a m pa I nt e r na t i ona l A i r po r t r unw a y w e r e e nt i t l e d t o c om pe ns a t i on f or i nva s i on o f a i r s pa c e up t o a n a l t i t ude o f 250 f e e t a nd t he A i r por t A ut hor i t y w a s m a nda t e d t o f i l e e m i ne nt do m a i n pr oc e e di ngs w i t hi n 60 da ys A n a ppe a l w a s t a ke n t o t he S e c ond D i s t r i c t but he w a s a f f i r m e d. D ur i ng t he de ba t e on t he ne e d f or c ha nge i n t he s t a t e 's j udi c i a l s t r uc t ur e ( p r opos a l t o a m e nd A r t i c l e V of t he C ons t i t ut i on) H odge s a nd f e l l ow j udge J a m e s S M oody, publ i c l y oppos e d t he a m e ndm e nt but i t w a s ne ve r t he l e s s a dopt e d a nd t ook e f f e c t J a nua r y 1, 1973 L e s s t ha n a ve r a ge he i ght w e l l uphol s t e r e d, w i t h c our t l y c ha r m a nd e ndow e d w i t h r i c h hum or J ohn H odge s w a s a t e a s e i n a ny s i t ua t i on. H e m e t hi s f ut u r e br i de a t a br i dge ga m e i n T a m pa B ot h o f t he m w e r e e xc e pt i ona l l y good pl a ye r s H ow t he i r f i r s t c a r d s huf f l i ng e xpe r i e nc e c a m e out i s unknow n, but w e know t ha t J ohn c a pt ur e d t he l ove l y M a r y R ut h B e t t s a nd, a s t he s ong s a ys i t w a s t he s t a r t of s om e t hi ng bi g T he i s s ue of t ha t uni on, i n or de r of a ppe a r a nc e w e r e J ohn, J r B obb y, a nd J a ne B e f or e r e t i r i ng f r om t he c our t H odge s t a ught l a w a t H C C a nd be ga n a c t i ng a s a m e di a t or / a r bi t r a t or w i t h m a r ke d s uc c e s s f or ye a r s L a t e r he w a s a c t i ve a s a s e ni or j udge i n P i ne l l a s C ount y, a nd w a s s o popul a r t ha t a n o f f i c e w a s m a de a va i l a bl e f or h i m t he r e A l l hi s l i f e C oc o" ( hi s ni c kna m e ) w a s a n a vi d hu nt e r a nd f i s he r m a n ( s e e phot o a c c om pa nyi ng t h i s a r t i c l e ) H i s f r i e nd a nd f e l l ow s a i l or H ow a r d G a r r e t t s a ys t ha t J ohn w a s a n e xc e l l e nt m a r i ne r but un f or t una t e l y, w a s n ot a s good a t ke e pi ng f ue l on boa r d! H i s boa t M i s t r i a l ( or M i s s T r i a l ) r a n out of ga s a nd w a s s t r a nde d f or a t i m e i n t he G ul f

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s h or t of t he S t M a r ks buoy, t he i r de s t i na t i on. T he t e m por a r y r e dne s s i n hi s f a c e a t t ha t t i m e w a s not due t o s unbur n. A f t e r hi s de a t h, M r s H odge s r e c e i ve d a l ove l y l e t t e r f r om D i a na R os e nba um a n of f i c i a l w i t h M e di a t i on & D i ve r s i on, w ho w or ke d w i t h hi m f r e que nt l y. S he s a i d, i n pa r t H e r e pr e s e nt s t he be s t of hi s ge ne r a t i on a n A m e r i c a n G e nt l e m a n. T he r e w e r e qua l i t i e s i n hi m t ha t I 'm a f r a i d I w on't e ve r s e e a ga i n i n qui t e t he s a m e uni que s w e e t but not t o o s w e e t br a c i ng 'c oc kt a i l '" W he n R obe r t B e nc hl e y di e d i n 1945 hi s c ol l e a gue J a m e s T hur be r quot e d a m ut ua l f r i e nd a s s a yi ng: T he y'r e goi ng t o ha ve t o s t a y up l a t e i n he a ve n now a nd w ha t i s m or e t he y m us t be ha vi ng t he t i m e of t he i r i n f i ni t i e s l uc ky a nge l s J ohn H odge s w a s no a nge l but w e f e e l good r e m e m be r i ng hi m e nj oyi n g hi s good hum o r a dm i r i ng hi s w i s dom a nd a l l t ha t he a c c om pl i s he d. M or i s on B uc k A f t e r w or d: H um or t o a m a n i s l i ke a f e a t he r pi l l ow I t i s f i l l e d w i t h w ha t i s e a s y t o ge t but gi ve s gr e a t c om f or t I r i s h P r ov e r b


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