TYLERVILLE, NY — Andrew Ellis “Andy” Hodge was welcomed into the arms of his loving Savior, Jesus Christ, on Jan. 20, 2023, at the age of 71, following a lengthy battle with cancer. Andy had a passion for history, instilled in him by his grandfather, and was particularly interested in researching his own family’s history.
His own story began on a farm in Tylerville, NY on December 14, 1951. There he lived with his parents, the late Francis Elmer & Edna Winifred (Haller) Hodge and his sister, Gail. Growing up, he was active in the Boy Scouts and model rocketry. Andy enjoyed building model rockets and launching them in the cornfields outside of his village, drawing in the curiosity of the other neighborhood children. His sister describes him as a “pied piper”, a leader of his childhood peers. It was during these childhood years that he met and developed a crush on his future wife, Gail McDonald, as they grew up playing softball together in Tylerville.
Not wanting to be a farmer himself, Andy decided to pursue education instead and headed off to Eisenhower College in Seneca Falls for his Bachelors Degree in History, with a minor in German. After graduating, he continued his Education at Colgate University pursuing a Masters in Education. He earned his Masters in Education from CBN University (now called Regent University) in Virginia Beach.
As a teacher for 37 years, Andy influenced the lives of hundreds of students. He retired from Copenhagen Central School in 2013, after 23 years as their High School History Teacher. Previously, he taught at South Jefferson Central School, Massena Central School, Case Junior High School, Bethel Christian Academy (Carlisle, PA), and Watertown High School. He was also the founding principal of Faith Fellowship Christian School, as well as a teacher there for three years. After retiring, Andy continued to teach adult learners in GED courses through BOCES and at the Watertown Correctional Facility.
Andy and Gail were married on July 21, 1979 and have enjoyed 43 ½ loving years being married to their best friend. Together they were blessed with four sons, Benjamin Eli, Christopher Enoch, Nathan Andrew, and Noah Edward. Raising his sons, whom he homeschooled alongside his wife Gail, brought Andy immense pride and joy. He was very excited as his family expanded to include both daughters-in-law and grandchildren. Ben married Sarah in 2015 and they welcomed their first son, Adam, this past May. Chris married Susan in 2018 and together they are raising their son, Jude. Nathan married Erin in 2008 and they are parents to Emmett and Norah. His family would not be complete without the furry companions adopted by Noah, who all loved to snuggle with Andy: Leo the cat, Alfie and Bentley the dogs, Addie the bunny, and the late Rodney the bunny.
Andy attended church his entire life, but made the decision to commit his life to Christ on Easter Sunday, 1977. He devoted his life to ministry and serving others. He was an active member of Life Church of the Nazarene congregation for over 20 years, serving on the Sunday School Discipleship Ministry Board and as a Sunday School teacher. Andy also volunteered his time outside of the church – most notably as the President of the South Rutland Cemetery Association for 25 years, and serving as the caretaker of the grounds. He enjoyed visiting cemeteries to look at the old headstones – appreciating the unique history of each one. Andy also served as a Board Member for CareNet of Watertown, which he passionately supported.
Andy also had a passion for genealogy, researching and publishing four books on local history and his own family’s genealogy: “In the Hills of Rutland: The Story of Tylerville, NY,” “Pioneer Girl of Rutland: The Story of Lovisa Phelps Brown,” “The Most Talked about Man in Watertown: The Life and Times of Henry Hodge,” and “Images of Yesteryear: A Pictorial History of Tylerville, NY.”
There are many other ways we could describe Andy: A reader. Avid Yankee fan. A gentle, kind-hearted man.
He is survived by his wife, Gail, his four sons: Ben (Sarah), Chris (Susan), Nate (Erin), Noah, and his four grandchildren: Jude, Emmett, Norah, and Adam. He also leaves behind his sister Gail (Dave) Goings and niece, Christine; Brothers-in-law Brian (Carol) McDonald, Patrick McDonald, Sisters-in-Law Melissa Strader, Colleen (Tim) Allen, and nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his father Francis Elmer Hodge, mother Edna Winifred (Haller) Hodge, sister, Carol Frances, who died in infancy. He was also predeceased by mother-in-law, Celestia (Edmonds) McDonald, and brother-in-law, Larry McDonald.
Friends will be received from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM, January 28th, 2023, at Life Church of the Nazarene, 535 Thompson Blvd., Watertown, NY. Memorial service will be held at noon at the same location, followed immediately by a Celebration of Life luncheon.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to CareNet of Watertown at 724 State Street, Watertown, NY 13601.
Online condolences may be made at reedbenoit.com