Abby Jane 'AJ' Hodges
Hodges, Abby Jane (AJ) With sadness for her passing and gratitude for her life, we report that Abby Jane (AJ) Hodges, nee Nicholson, died on September 11, 2020. She is reunited with her parents, Abby and Harry Nicholson; her brother Nick and her sister Sally; every pet on which she ever doted; and her beloved IBM typewriter. She leaves behind her husband of 62 years, Morrison Hodges; three children - Nick Hodges, Parker Hodges and his wife Heather Gay, and Betsy Hodges and her husband Gary Cunningham; and five grandchildren - Piper, Zoe, Ellie, Atticus, and Timber Hodges. She also leaves behind her four beloved nephews and their families - David, Richard, Ford, and Todd Nicholson. She also leaves behind a lifetime of friendships and laughter. AJ grew up first in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and then in Akron, Ohio. She graduated from her beloved Northfield School for Girls, now Northfield Mount Herman, in 1953. She would want you all to know two things about her time there: she lettered in four sports every year (soccer, softball, swimming, and, we think, track), and she cleaned the gym for fifteen cents an hour as part of her scholarship. She graduated from her also-beloved Wellesley College in 1957, where she met Morrison on a study abroad trip to Germany. AJ had three main careers in her life in addition to parenting and to gathering the full life history of every person she met. She was a physical therapist from the late fifties until the early eighties. She was a writer of novels set in World War II, the research for which included both driving a tank and breaking down, cleaning, assembling, and firing an Uzi submachine gun. Though she had one of the finest book agents in the country, only now are her books in the process of being published by her children. Her final career was President of Renaissance Fertilizer, an organic fertilizer company whose clients included a notable musician's home farm in New Jersey. She was a facile speaker and writer of English, known for her deep and wide vocabulary. She also retained minutiae beautifully and referred to herself as "a font of useless information". This combination means she regularly completed the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle and beat everyone in Trivial Pursuit. Her vocabulary was also peppered with an array of fascinating and apt phrases she used often, including "whacked off at the knees" as a threat, "you are a pearl beyond price, a thing of beauty, and a joy forever" as a standard thank you, "up the wazoo" to indicate possession of a great deal of something, "this place is a zoo" as a lament regarding clutter, and "sez la vez, man" as a way of letting something go. Over the objections of her daughter, she never stopped referring to snacks as "munchies". AJ loved what she loved, fully, full-on, and well. In addition to her family and friends, these included, in no particular order, racquetball (she was the 1989 Ridgedale YMCA Women's Spring League Champion and eventually started playing in the men's leagues); Wayzata Community Church; The Wayzata Community Church Choir, where she sang for 40+ years; the history of World War II - she walked every European battlefield of the war; the Gophers Football Team; choral music; knitting - each child was gifted a bespoke Irish Fisherman's sweater; and the family dachshund, Hilary, who had her portrait done in both oil and watercolors. She was active throughout her life and in addition to racquetball she biked, swam, played league softball, golfed, and raced sailboats competitively. AJ Hodges never met a stranger and was deeply interested in every person she met. She knew the life history and ambitions of every bag boy and girl at the grocery store, every student she worked with as a volunteer in writing classes at Wayzata High School, and everyone she talked to on the phone in her many hours of campaigning for her daughter. Though the list of things AJ did not care for was far shorter it was no less absolute. This list included broccoli, for which her father's overabundant WWII Victory Garden claims responsibility; committee meetings - her love for Wayzata Community Church extended to service on its boards and committees and one hopes they took that particular service for the truest possible act of devotion that it was; and Donald Trump, whom she loathed with an active and fiery passion until the day she died. AJ was uncomfortable with hidden agendas, passive aggression, or anything less than plain speaking. She herself was incapable of lying, even the most basic of social niceties, and preferred uncomfortable truths to comfortable prevarications. This made for rough sledding in Minnesota at times but was also one of her greatest strengths and enduring lights. She was also deeply kind with a giant and loving heart. She had a fantastic sense of humor and loved to laugh. She took pleasure in never having lost her sense of whimsy or the absurd. AJ Hodges was a blessing to the world and to her family. She was, indeed, a pearl beyond price, a thing of beauty, and a joy forever. In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation to AJ's beloved Chancel Choir at Wayzata Community Church. Checks can be made out to Wayzata Community Church with "Chancel Choir" in the memo line, or online at wayzatacommunitychurch.org/give/ with "Chancel Choir" noted. David Lee Funeral Home Wayzata 952-473-5577 davidleefuneralhome.com
Published on September 20, 2020
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