Brian McLane

Media and Social Commentary

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March 22nd, 2011 · No Comments · Social Commentary

Frank Hodes passed away a few weeks back. The funeral was a loving and well attended one, standing room only.

It’s taken some time to sink in but, we have his picture on our refrigerator door. He’s not going anywhere because every time we eat we’re pleasantly reminded of him.

I first met frank in Florida when I was visiting my mom. He would winter at Palm Isles. And one day, when I was in the pool and my eye caught sight of a beautiful brunette that was visiting, it wasn’t too much longer until I was in love, and being invited to dinner.

One of the first things that drew me to Frank was that he was a World War II Vet, one of the Greatest Generation who hit the beach during D-Day and took shrapnel to the leg which affected him the rest of his life. Instant respect. Frank was strictly old school. While he would only share his confidences with those whom he felt comfortable with, he was always at the center of the conversation.

What was telling about Frank was that there were always people of different ages around him. And the conversation could go, and take you anywhere. From his days in WW II, to when he became an expert on wood and had his own business, to his forays in finance and of course leisure. I would sit transfixed as he would talk about a cross country trip he took with his wife and another couple along route 66 or the tragedy he experienced aboard the Achille Lauro which was hijacked by terrorists.

But we had our own adventures too, albeit not as extreme. Once we went to go get “the world’s best pie” in a sleepy Florida town an hour west of Boynton Beach. After chowing down we took a wrong turn and wound up driving all the way around Lake OkeeChobee. I was ribbing him good and the laughs kept us going until we got home a few days later. Sorry Frank, couldn’t resist.

Another day trip we took was to the Coral Castle south of Miami off US 1. This guy had built a technological marvel out of coral as a shrine to an unrequited love. And Frank was down to check it out.

When he lost his beloved wife Millie after 62 years he kept on. Missing her something awful every day to be sure. But still with a zest for life. I remember reading Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse V in High School and there was in Frank Hodes a similar quality as with that book’s Billy Pilgrim – a character who had lived so long, experienced so much and shared it all with those who came in contact with him.

Sometimes it’s hard to believe he’s gone. I still can’t get used to the fact that there won’t be anymore days in Florida sitting around the pool at Palm Isles, talking with him until the sun went down or going out to dinner. And of course weekends down at the shore. And there’s a piece of me that feels that Frank knew that when I met Shorena, that something would change…. that perhaps the final stretch of his journey had arrived. But he loved Shorena so much that he I believed would have sacrificed for her as well, and did. There was no replacing her. They were inseparable. Shorena took Frank’s passing particularly hard.

But Frank gave us a legacy to remember him by – and that’s the family we have now to which he gave so much support and love.

So no more tears. Every time we look at our children Sofia and Nodari, the happiness and joy we experience daily is due in large part because of Frank and his wonderful daughter Carol, also our friend. Even my mom became very fond of him.

Here are some pictures that will serve as a small reminder of what fun, joy and warmth we experienced everytime we were around Frank Hodes. He will always be a part of us.


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