Russell Spangler Hodge went home to be with his Lord and reunite with his beloved wife, Grace and son, Larry after his 99th birthday. He was born November 18, 1921, to Frank and Ethel (Spangler) Hodge.
Upon graduation he attended a short course in agriculture in Bozeman and began farming with his father and brother. Russ, Paul, and Frank shared one tractor which Russ ran at night on his ground. He grew up hunting, from trapping skunks and other varmints to earn money as a youngster to hunting elk in the Little Belts for many years as well as deer and antelope. He could tell the story of when elk were introduced into the Little Belts.
He met this lovely teacher from Windham at a country dance at Utica. He married Grace Hildegarde Nelson on January 3, 1942. Son Larry was born in February 1944. Shortly after Russ was drafted into the U.S. Army, serving from August 2, 1944, until April 1, 1946, in the European Theater. Grace managed the farm while he was gone; the good price for wheat paid off the farm before Russ got home. Daughter, Sharolyn was born after his return.
Over the years, Russ was involved with Benchland Rifle Club, Stanford Investment Club, Benchland Oil Co., and Toastmasters' Club. He was a long time member of Zion Lutheran Church where he served on the church council and as an usher. He was an unofficial greeter, always speaking to visitors and newcomers. From 1980-1986, he served as Judith Basin Co. commissioner. He retired from agriculture in 1986.
Russ and Grace later moved to Lewistown. After her death in 2001, he continued to live at the Esplanade until health reasons necessitated the move to Caslen Living Center where he lived until his health necessitated the move to Great Falls.
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