Cover photo for Shirley Hodge's Obituary
Shirley Hodge Profile Photo
1935 Shirley 2024

Shirley Hodge

April 30, 1935 — April 19, 2024

Shirley Joann Evens Hodge was born April 30, 1935 to Ernest Jasper ("E.J.") and Mable Evens in Amsterdam, Missouri. She was born at home and weighed 3 ½ pounds. The doctor thought she wouldn't live through the night, so they wrapped her in blankets and put her in a shoebox. She obviously made it! Jo was named Shirley by the doctor, who named three other girls Shirley that year in honor of Shirley Temple.

Jo was an excellent student and musician; she sang and played piano and began teaching piano lessons while attending the newly built Miami Rural High School. At Baker University, she earned a bachelor's degree in Music Education. There she met her future husband, Edwin Eugene Hodge, while waiting in line at the registrar's office. Ed had been accidentally enrolled in a girls' gym class. Jo and Ed graduated from Baker University in May of 1957 and were married August 4 the same year. Jo taught music at Lindberg Elementary School until they began a family, and then came home to raise their three children, Karen, Russell, and Nancy. While the children were small, she worked from home as a seamstress and as a private music teacher. One of Nancy's earliest memories is being in the playpen while Jo taught voice and piano lessons. Today, all three children are passionate musicians.

Later, Jo completed her master's degree in Music Education at the University of Kansas. She taught at Kansas City Kansas Community Junior College for 20 years, where she accompanied the choir and taught piano and organ classes, Music for Elementary Teachers, and Music Appreciation. During her last few years at KCKCJC, she also directed, choreographed and costumed the show choir. She is fondly remembered by the thousands of students whose lives she touched over the years.

Throughout her life, Jo was active as a church musician; she began playing piano for the church at age 11. While the family lived in Kansas City, Kansas, she was a long-time member of Grandview United Methodist Church. After she and Ed retired, they moved to Lake Pomme de Terre, in Hickory County, Missouri. Jo was the pianist and church organist for the United Methodist Church there until she and Ed moved back to Kansas in 2018. In Newton, Ed and Jo joined Trinity Heights UMC.

Jo loved to read, and she and Ed traveled the world. As a master quilter, she made many quilts for the Festival of Sharing, and her quilts are highly treasured by family members and friends. She created a series of seven quilts based on the American Civil War using Civil War reproduction fabrics. In 2012, she developed a historical program based on the quilts and the 1861 border wars between Kansas and Missouri and gave presentations at community events. Her daughter Karen is now carrying on with the program and the quilting.

Jo was preceded in death by her parents, EJ and Mable Evens, and by infant twin brothers. She is survived by her husband, Ed Hodge, of the home, and three children: Karen Wagner (Doug) of Wichita, KS, Russ Hodge (Gabi Krietemeyer) of Heidelberg, Germany, and Nancy Jo Blockcolsky (Lyle) of Olsburg, KS, six grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandson due May 11.

After a very brief battle with cancer, Jo passed away peacefully on April 19, surrounded by family. Like her entire life, her last days were filled with humor, compassion and love.

Her life is celebrated by friends and family near and far who loved her dearly.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Shirley Hodge, please visit our flower store.


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