OLD ORCHARD BEACH — James Russell “Jim” Hodge, 86, of Old Orchard Beach, left our presence to begin a new adventure Friday, Oct. 6, surrounded by members of his loving family. Son of the late Merle and Eva Hodge, he was born Nov. 10, 1930, in Hartford.

In 1931, when Jim was four months old, his father passed away suddenly, leaving his mother, a staunch and steadfast Christian, to raise him and his siblings: sister, Fern, and brothers, Merle, Stan and Harold. Jim was raised in the Christian faith, which he stood by his entire life.

Jim was a graduate of Canton High School and enlisted in the U.S. Navy thereafter. With pride he served aboard the USS Fargo, being honorably discharged in 1952.

He was united in holy matrimony to Grace (Giselle) Couture, of Jay, on Sept. 18, 1954, at St. Rose of Lima Church, in Chisholm, by the Rev. Maurice Plourde, attended by Mr. and Mrs. Albert Landry.

Jim worked at various occupations throughout his career, primarily for the Oxford Paper Co. in Rumford. At the age of 42, to the surprise of all, he gave his notice in the mill and enrolled at Southern Maine Community College, in the fledgling field of wastewater treatment management. Upon graduation in 1973 from the New England Regional Wastewater Institute, he obtained a position as the treatment facility operator for the town of Jay. During his 17-year tenure, he was recognized by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection with a special certificate of achievement, for his innovative optimization of implementations which included a flawless compliance record, recycling of sludge for utilization instead of landfilling, his primary concern for the environment and his professional conduct throughout his career.

Some of Jim’s many interests included a stint in the National Guard, membership in the Masons, Blazing Star Lodge No. 30 and coaching in the Mexico Little League system. He also had a love of music, being self-taught on piano and guitar. Jim was also an avid baseball player and fan, playing for the Canton town team. He followed baseball throughout his life, including Little League, college and professional, becoming a Yankees fan in 1978 after years of Red Sox disappointments.

Jim is survived by his loving wife, Grace; eight sons and their families, Richard and Nancy, Stephen and Cynthia, Michael and Marie, Timothy and Yayoi, Joseph and Diane, John and Theresa, James and Susan and Robert and Ellen. He also leaves behind 18 grandchildren; four step-grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and three step-great-grandchildren, all of whom he was immensely proud. He is also survived by his sister, Fern; and brother, Harold. He was predeceased by his parents; and brothers Merle and Stan.

James R. Hodge

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