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Bill J. Hodges (10-6-1929 - 1-23-2004)

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The following was recently published in the Texas Chapter of the Antique Airplane Association Newsletter. Thanks to the author for a nice tribute. (Ed.)

Bill Hodges, the founder of our Texas Chapter of the Antique Airplane Association, took his final flight west. Bill passed away Friday, January 23, 2004, following surgery. Norm Justice, along with the Ryan Type Club President, attended the services in Searcy, Arkansas.

This is a summary of Bill's accomplishments in organizing the Texas Chapter of the AAA and his work in the antique airplane movement.

Bill posted fliers to AAA members living in Texas, inviting them to an Antique Airplane Fly-In on January 19, 1963, at the old Grand Prairie Airport on Jefferson Ave. The purpose was to meet, organize a chapter, and plan a fly-in. The proposed title was the Northeast Texas Chapter of the Antique Airplane Association. The weather that Saturday was freezing rain and everything was covered in ice. Nine members attended and John and Bea Kane, from Houston drove the final 45 miles on a sheet of ice. We were all excited about forming a chapter and conducting a fly-in. We adjourned to the Inn of the Six Flags across the street for dinner and an enjoyable program by Bill and Fred Maupen showing color slides. Plans were made to have an election of officers at the next meeting and plan a fly-in at the Grand Prairie Airport on May 25-26, 1963.

Dr. Jim Almand was elected chapter President and Bill was Vice President. Bill wrote and posted a newsletter noting the interest in antique airplanes throughout the area. Bill led the effort to have the chapter host the first fly-in, May 25, 1963. There were 26 antiques and homebuilts attending. Bill wrote the news of the fly-in and activities of the chapter. Bill was later elected chapter president and continued the newsletter.

Bill purchased a Stinson 10A and later a Fairchild 24. He was bitten by the Ryan bug and from there he never looked back. He moved his family to Ottumwa and worked for Bob Taylor in the Air Power Museum. Next he moved to Oshkosh and worked in the EAA Museum. Returning to Texas, he organized the Ryan Type Club and was elected President and newsletter editor. Bill maintained his chapter membership and helped Norm Justice host a number of Ryan Fly-ins at Birdnest Airport. When Bill came to the Denton fly-ins, he always had his Ryan scrapbooks with the histories of all known Ryans.

We will miss Bill, but as you can see, he started with nine members with no flying airplanes to over 200 members with nearly 100 flying antiques and classics. As you make your final flight west in your Ryan, we will miss your perfect three point landing.

He was born in 1929 in Paris, TX. Attended Hayward High School, and San Jose State College. Served in the Air Force in Japan during Korea. Retired as a Master Sergeant. Retired from TU Electric in 1993. Served as founding member of the International Ryan Club and was newsletter editor until his death.

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