Karen L. Hodges

July 13, 1949 - January 23, 2013

Karen L. Hodges

July 13, 1949 - January 23, 2013


Karen L Hodges
July 13, 1949-January 23, 2013
Karen Louise Hodges passed away surrounded by family in Bellingham on Wednesday. Karen was an exceptional wife, mother, aunt, grandmother, teacher and friend. She was born in Fullerton, CA to Carl and Louise (Graves) Montgomery, grew up in Brea, and graduated from California State University Fullerton in 1972. Karen began her elementary teaching career in Garden Grove, CA, and moved to Whatcom County in 1982. Karen began teaching in the Mt. Baker School District and continued for 27 years at Deming, Harmony, Mt. Baker Jr. High, Maple Falls, and Kendall schools. In 1984 Chuck Hodges fell for Karen’s witty, smart and fun nature. They married at their home on the Goshen Road in Bellingham, where she resided until her death.
Karen was a loyal, supportive and honest friend. She was tolerant, understanding, considerate and could always be trusted with secrets and dreams. She developed friendships that lasted throughout her life. As a young woman, Karen thoroughly enjoyed listening and dancing to country music. Her alter-ego, “Karrie Lou”, loved the stories in the lyrics and looked great in her cowboy hat and boots, two-stepping around the dance floor. She moved to Whatcom County because she thought the area was so beautiful, and she loved the small town feel of county life. Karen truly enjoyed getting to know members of the community, relishing in their family stories and generational connections. She developed close ties with her neighbors, who were members of the Nooksack Tribe.
Regarded by her co-workers as an amazing teacher, Karen was a role model for others, providing leadership in each of the buildings in which she taught. Her teaching style was unique; part entertainer, part coach, part mother and task master. She had the ability to reach even the most challenging students, to whom she was especially drawn. Karen took her job quite seriously, but never herself.
Karen was devoted to family–the one she came from as well and the one she created with her husband. She was proud of her family history; and taught her children, nieces and nephews about their ancestors’ role in the Civil War and the story of the Ritchey Mansion, a family home that is now a museum in Newtonia, Missouri. Her family had a long and storied military history with one member serving in the Revolutionary War, four in the Civil War, three in WW I, eleven in WWII, two in Korea, one in Viet Nam, one in Iraq, and five in peace time. An engraved stone in Gold Canyon, Arizona, marks this record.
The most important part of Karen’s life was raising her children. Her children enjoyed family vacations, summers by the river, and participating in sports events. She was simply always there for them. When they were young, her children thought of Karen as strict. Now, as adults, they appreciate how her role model guided them to become caring, responsible parents themselves.
Karen is survived by her husband Chuck, sons, Jason (Kira) Hodges, Casey (Miranda) Hodges; and grandchildren Isabella, Payton, Madelyn and Ira. Her brothers Jim (Janie) Montgomery, Carl (Betty) Montgomery and Larry (Pat) Montgomery and 8 nieces and nephews also survive her. She was preceded in death by her son, Christopher Hodges, and daughter, Jennifer Thompson.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, February 2, at 1 PM, at Mt. Baker High School in Deming with a reception following. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Karen Hodges Memorial Scholarship at the Mt. Baker Scholarship Foundation, PO Box 875, Deming, WA 98244

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A memorial service will be held Saturday, February 2, at 1 PM, at Mt. Baker High School in Deming with a reception following. Donations Information

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Karen Hodges Memorial Scholarship at the Mt. Baker Scholarship Foundation, PO Box 875, Deming, WA 98244

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7 responses to Karen L. Hodges

  1. Val Lloyd says:

    Karen…you are such a force in so many people’s lives- in the past, now and as time goes on. The emptiness I feel with you gone is filling with memories of side splitting laughter and so many stories being told of your insight, innate expertise with children and your great takes on the complexities of Life. I ache for us all…love, Val

  2. Oh Karen I will so miss your face lighting up into a big smile when you saw me you always made me feel like I was just the person you wanted to see! I will miss your big hugs and honest talk. Hugs to you Chuck and all the family. So sorry for your loss.

  3. Rita Perry says:

    Please accept my sympathy To the loving Husband,Sons,Family & Friends in the very painful loss of your dearly loved Karin She was such a wonderful person and will be truly missed by all those who knew,respected and loved her. Hopefully you will be comforted by the Bible Verses that follow: Rev21:4-5 “AND HE WILL WIPE OUT EVERY TEAR FROM THEIR EYES AND DEATH WILL BE NO MORE,NEITHER WILL MOURNING,NOR OUTCRY NOR PAIN BE ANYMORE,THE FORMER THINGS HAVE PASSED AWAY”

  4. Many people may know that I’ve been playing music with Jim Terhorst, Jim Proctor, and Glenn Austin for about 37 years. When Karen got here she immediately became one of our biggest fans. She loved her music. I remember her sweet smiling face out there wherever we played. She loved to dance and used to two-step with Jim Proctor or anyone else she could find when ever she got the chance. We’ve always played music mostly for fun and endeavored not to take ourselves too seriously. We never really got serious about a name for the group. We laughingly called ourselves the Space City Ramblers. Karen, however, was the first one to refer to us (goof balls that we were) as Jimmy and the Jerkbutts. That stuck around ever since and has always been our not-so-secret second name. God, Karen was such a sweet person. She always had a way of making you feel good about yourself. You always knew that she genuinely cared about how you were doing. I’ll miss you Sweetheart.

  5. Chuck, Jason, Casey and all other family and friends. I am sorry for your loss. Karen meant the world to me as does the entire family. It was such a wonderful blessing to have her and your family in my life. She will be greatly missed by many. Sending all of my love and prayers to the entire family.

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