Dorothy Rose Matthews Hodge
June 1, 1935 - January 16, 2020
Dorothy Rose (“Dot”) Matthews Hodge went to be with Jesus on January 16, 2020. She passed after being ushered peacefully into the next life by worship and music from her family late in the evening before passing peacefully in her sleep.
Dorothy Rose was born in Marianna, Florida on June 1, 1935. Her parents were Dorothy Sawyer Matthews and Jackson Clifford Matthews. She grew up in Apalachicola, Florida. She was preceded in death by Rosa and Fred Sawyer Sr. (Rosa) who emigrated from Sussex, England at age 16 as well as her parents.
She graduated from Florida State University 1963 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education. She was married to Ltc. John J. Hodge, Sr. (Ret.) of Panama City and traveled with the Army to many interesting places including Okinawa, Japan. She taught synchronized swimming classes and organized shows. She was the highly successful President of the Officers’ Wives Club of a 3,300 person Air Defense Brigade in Okinawa.
For more than three decades, she taught Kindergarten and other elementary grade levels (e.g. at Longwood Elementary School) and resided in Niceville, Florida.
Dorothy Rose had a full and exuberant life. She passionately loved her family, loved teaching, loved all children, loved worship, and loved Apalachicola Florida. Her favorite past times included swimming, spending time with loved ones at her beach cottage in Port Saint Joe Beach and singing Old Church hymns with great enthusiasm.
She never met a stranger and frequently made friends through even casual encounters. She loved her country and spent hours keeping up with current events through reading the papers and watching news shows such as CSPAN and Meet the Press. She enjoyed leading a Bible study and making dear friendships at her retirement center.
Dorothy Rose deeply influenced and touched countless lives, including hundreds of school children and her children and grandchildren through her genuine concern, Olympic level conversation, delightful Southern wit, and heartfelt constant prayer for others. One of her favorite Hymns was, “How Great Thou Art,” which her daughter and grandson sang to her in the hours she was passing. In her final days, she asked her grandchildren to always follow Jesus and “to pray continually.” She also expressed that she was excited for her eternal reunion with loved ones.
Dorothy Rose is survived by three children and their spouses: John Julian Hodge, Jr. (Dora) retired in Choctaw Beach, Deanna Rose Hodge Gelak of Springfield, VA (Joseph), and Deborah Ann Hodge Garred (James) of Panama City, FL; six grandchildren: John Christopher McCauley (Elizabeth), Tiffany Cora Gelak, Jason McCauley, Alyssa Garred, Emily Garred, Andrew Gelak and her brother, Fred Sawyer Matthews of Key West, Florida (Karin) and children Monica Matthews Santana (Jose’) and Steven Mathews (Karen); and her First Cousin, Fred Buck Sawyer (Rita), as well as many treasured extended family members and dear friends.
A service celebrating her life will be held at her childhood Trinity Episcopal Church (79 6th Street) Apalachicola, FL on Monday, January 20, 2020. Visitation will be open at 12 to 1 pm, with the service at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Dorothy Rose will be interred at Magnolia Cemetery in Apalachicola, Florida next to her Mother, Dorothy Sawyer Matthews. Donations may be made in her name to the Parkinson’s Foundation at Parkinson.org/ways-to-give in lieu of Flowers.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:7-8
"but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31