In the spring of 1953, Mary Anne Martin Hodgson was a young career woman with a wide world ahead. A recent graduate of the University of Georgia and program director for nascent radio station WRFC, Mary Anne was starting the life of a journalist and broadcaster with an eye out for just the sort of man she could fall in love with and make a family. Six months later she was the mother of four children under the age of five and her career ideas got put on hold… it seemed.
Mary Anne Hodgson died on September 3 in St. Mary’s Hospice House.
Mary Anne often said that she did not just marry Paul Hodgson, but his young son Peter and infant triplets, too. While an on-air personality a year earlier, she actually was the radio voice that announced the birth of Margaret, Joe and Tom, and soon after the early passing of their mother Margaret McEver Hodgson.
Mary Anne appeared to forfeit the life of journalism for one of running carpools to the old downtown YMCA or dragging unappreciative youngsters to Miss Flossy’s for dance lessons and maybe a badly needed course in manners, too. This traditional lifestyle from the middle part of the past century was job enough for most homemakers of the time.
Somehow Mary Anne found a spare minute to do more. She served in the Athens Junior Ladies Garden Club, was the first president of the Athens Humane Society, volunteered weekly at Recording for the Blind, joined The Junior Assembly, sat on the Vestry for Emmanuel Episcopal Church, tramped the boards of the Town and Gown Theater and enjoyed, really enjoyed, numerous other service functions where she was not just a member, but almost surely an officer and organizer. She was named Athens Woman of the Year for Public Service in 1963 when her triplets were eleven years old.
It wasn’t until the children had grown that Mary Anne co-wrote books under her own name, penned advertising copy for local businesses, ghost-wrote biographies for select friends and starred in a WUGA television series on needlepoint for children. Seems she had finally found the time to do something related to journalism.
In 1968, Mary Anne, Paul and their four children moved to her beloved Erymwold, where she lived and thrived for the next 44 years. This neo-classical brick home on 360 acres of farmland and woods has served as the now widespread Hodgson family ‘home’ since 1939. Mary Anne loved the many options for growing flowers and learning about trees--her passion for the second part of her life.
A tree-hugger if there ever were one, Mary Anne Hodgson was also a realist who knew that not all trees can be saved from development. But she frequently helped owners find options that resulted in healthier green space where the next generation of tall specimens had room to grow and thrive. The Athens media had Mary Anne’s number on speed dial should the subject of trees make its way into the news of the day.
Mary Anne Martin was born in Cornelia, Georgia in 1927 to Mary Echols Martin and Howard Bradley “Doc” Martin. Her mother was widowed three times, moving frequently to serve as a home nurse for many homebound patients in North Georgia. Mary Anne was valedictorian at Tallulah Falls School and supported the institution for years. She was graduated from what was then North Georgia Junior College before earning a journalism degree from UGA in 1948.
Her four children and their spouses survive her: Paul “Peter”(Susan), Athens; Thomas McEver (Patti) Atlanta; Joseph McEver (Penny), Nashville TN, and Margaret Lee Hodgson Ossa (Marcelo), Nanaimo BC Canada. Other survivors include ten grandchildren and their spouses: Marcelo Ossa (Natasha) and Nicolas Ossa, Vancouver BC Canada; McCullough Hodgson (Jenny), Decatur; Alan (Lindsay), Winston-Salem NC; Mac Hodgson (Kathleen), Atlanta; Beverly Conley (Jonathan) and Sam Hodgson, Nashville TN; Thomas, Jr., Kiley, and Mary Catherine Hodgson, Atlanta; her half-sister Nancy Hardman Revnes (Michael). Athens; nephew Joe Revnes, Atlanta; one aunt, LaTrelle Warren, Cornelia; two uncles, Tim Echols (Alice), Graniteville SC, and Bascom Echols (Ruth), Lula; six great-grandchildren, and many cousins.
The arrangements for Mary Anne Hodgson's funeral service will be announced later in Athens Patch. If you have a story to share about this wise, wonderful woman, please do so in the comments. Thanks.