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Hodges, Joan

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Joan Hodges passed away peacefully at her home on June 2nd 2024, just days before her 97th birthday. Joan was born in Chicago, and was the oldest of three girls. She moved with her family to Sonora where she attended 8th grade at the Dome and graduated from Sonora High School in 1945. Joan had a love for music. She and her sister Marcia sung in the choir at St. Anne’s Church in Columbia, and her favorite hymn was Ave Maria.

Joan’s first job was at her father, Herman Riedel’s gas station, where she pumped gas, changed tires and often ran the station herself. This is when she acquired her love of motorcycles, and she rode often for many years. After studying business at San Jose State, she returned to Sonora and ran the office in her father’s auto dealership; Riedel Motors.

She later became the first Administrative Secretary to the CEO of Lawrence Livermore Lab. Joan was crowned Queen of the Columbia Airport Airshow in 1949 and received complimentary flying lessons. It was during her 1st solo flight that she was forced to make an emergency landing due to an unexpected engine failure. Amazingly, Joan was able to execute a successful landing in the Calaveras foothills, but made the decision to never pilot a plane again. Joan married Hugh L Hodges in 1952 and enjoyed 22 years as an officer’s wife in the Air Force, while raising 3 daughters and living in various locations both in the United States, Germany and Japan.

After her husband’s military retirement in 1974, the family moved back to Sonora where Joan enjoyed being surrounded by her loved ones and family friends, which would also come
to include many of her 2 grandson’s lifelong friends who all knew her as “Granny”. Joan is survived by her 3 daughters, Jania Hodges (Gary Schlussler), Christa Bennett, Gera Klein (Ray), and step daughter Meredith Huey (Marvin); 2 grandson’s: Jacob Klein (Rachel), Matt Klein (Amanda),
and 5 great grand children: Audrey, Stella, Eleanor; Josey and Jessie, Sister, Marcia Watts and many beloved nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her loving husband Hugh Hodges of 52 years, parents Susanna and Herman Riedel, and sister Susanna Maddox. Joan was a very loving wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother. Her love will be in our hearts always, and she will be forever missed.
Cremation by Terzich and Wilson.

  • Date of Death: 06/02/2024
  • Age: 96
  • Residence: Sonora, CA