Kenneth M. Hodges

kenneth hodges
Kenneth M. Hodges was born in Fairland, Texas, on March 30, 1931, to Jeff Wilson Hodges and Fann Edwards Hodges. He was the third of their three sons. He passed away in New Braunfels, Texas, on February 19, 2021, after a brief hospitalization. Ken’s father worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad as a telegrapher-clerk and later as station agent and, when Ken was about two years old, was transferred to Giddings, Texas, where Ken was raised. Ken graduated from Giddings High School in August, 1947, after completing his high school requirements a year or more early. He was an exceptional student and an athlete. He played football and basketball and also represented the school at competitions in extemporaneous speaking. After attending Blinn Junior College, Ken transferred to the University of Texas to complete his studies and left UT in January 1952 with a Bachelor of Science degree in petroleum engineering. Ken might have begun his professional career in Venezuela, but he had already reported to work with the Union Producing Company on the same day a telegram arrived with the more exotic offer. It was a stroke of good fortune for his family, as he soon was introduced to Roberta Rooke, the daughter of ranchers in the Woodsboro, Texas, area. They were married at the home of her parents on the evening of April 16, 1955, in an outdoor ceremony still remembered by those in attendance. Ken had many fond memories of times spent at the Rooke ranch and with his in-laws. Ken’s professional career took him from Beeville to Pettus (1955-1956) to Houma, Louisiana, (1957-1961) and back to Beeville (1961-1963). In the summer of 1963, Ken and Roberta relocated with their three children to Refugio, Texas. There, he and Roberta added two sons to their family and Ken was promoted to Superintendent. The family remained in Refugio even as Ken’s further promotions took him to Corpus Christi as District Production Manager, District Manager, and Interim District Superintendent for Pennzoil, which had acquired Union Producing. In 1974, the family moved to Houston to enable Ken to accept another promotion. While in Houston, Ken assumed responsibility for Pennzoil’s Gulf of Mexico production as District Manager of Marine Operations. After his career at Pennzoil ended, Ken operated his own consulting firm, became co-owner of oilfield service company Superior Vacuum, was employed by Michigan-Wisconsin Pipeline, and became Vice-President of Operations for Whiting Petroleum. Ken also served on UT’s petroleum engineering advisory committee for four years and frequently visited the campus to recruit prospective graduates for employment. He remained proud of having attained the distinction of Registered Professional Engineer. Ken calculated that, in total, he worked for 38 years in the oil fields. Ken came from, and married into, families in which the men were Masons going back generations. He joined their ranks as soon as he was able. He stood and passed the exam in the Beeville lodge and his degree was conferred in Giddings when he was aged 22 or 23. He entered the Blue Lodge there as a 32nd degree Mason in the Scottish Rite. About a year later he became a Shriner which, at that time, required additional study and qualification. He eventually received his 50-year recognition as a Mason in San Antonio although he did not remain active in his later years. Both in Beeville and in Refugio, Ken was involved Masonry and in civic service. He served on the Refugio Independent School District board from 1964 to 1974, as Refugio Chamber of Commerce president, as deacon of the First Presbyterian Church of Refugio, as chairman of the Refugio County Fair parade, and was a member of the Rotary Clubs of Refugio and Corpus Christi. In 1976, he was elected to the board of directors of the Corpus Christi National Bank as an advisory director. Ken was able to look back with pleasure and few regrets on a life well lived that included many experiences and travels in addition to his work and his unflagging support of family. He gave his love and support to his parents when they needed him in their final years, as he did to his parents-in-law. Ken is remembered with much love by his beloved wife of nearly 66 years, Roberta Rooke Hodges, and his five children (Ann Hodges, Ken Hodges, Jr., Donna Hodges Hafner, Andy Hodges, and Mark Hodges), four granddaughters (Rachel Ann Hafner, Claire Hafner Bass, Sydney Lynne Hodges, and Julia Driscoll Hodges), one great-granddaughter (Emmy Rooke “Tadpole” Bass), daughter-in-law Deborah Carver Hodges, and grandson-in-law Cody Bass. Lifetime family friend the Reverend Canon Jan Naylor Cope led Ken’s family in a service on February 20, 2021. For her loving guidance and support Ken’s family will remain forever grateful. His resting place will be Oakwood Cemetery in Refugio County. Contributions in his memory may be made to Driscoll Children’s Hospital, the First Presbyterian Church of Refugio, or the preferred charity of the donor.

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