Thea Drell Hodge
1922 – 2008
HODGE, Thea Drell – passed away peacefully in her sleep March 3, 2008 at Canyon House in Menlo Park. Her husband of 65 years and youngest daughter were holding her hands and quietly singing to her as she drew her last breath. Despite being afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease during her final years, she maintained her sweet and loving disposition until the very end.
Thea was born November 8, 1922 in Atlantic City NJ to Tully and Rose White Drell. She attended Antioch College in Ohio, where she met her husband, and graduated Magna cum laude from Hunter College in New York in 1946. In addition to raising three children, she had a 30-year career in computer science, supervising and heading computer centers at Illinois Institute of Technology, University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and University of Minnesota, and departments at Cray Research and University of Minnesota. She founded the Minnesota chapter of the Association for Women in Computing, and mentored countless young women in pursuit of their careers. The Association for Computing Machinery bestowed on Thea a lifetime achievement award in 2004, and inducted her into their Hall of Fame.
She is survived by her husband Philip Gibson Hodge, Jr.; brother Sidney Drell; three children: Susan Edith Hodge (David Aaron Greenberg), Philip Tully (Margie) Hodge, and Elizabeth (William) Hodge Kelly; nine grandchildren: April Hodge (Tessa) Silver, Myriam Hodge (Mikey) Cohen, Adam Hodge Greenberg, Jason Daniel Kubelick, Lisa Marie Kubelick (Anthony Essex), Eli Nicholas Kubelick, Rivka Rose Kelly, Joshua Philip Kelly, and Eve Maya Kelly; and three great-grandchildren: Isaac James Essex, Ruth Tamar Silver, and Hadassah Cohen.
Thea was active in the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, serving on several committees and participating in Thespians and Elder Journey. At her request her body has been donated to the Stanford University School of Medicine.
A memorial service to celebrate Thea’s life will be held at Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, 505 East Charleston Road, Palo Alto, CA 94306, 650-494-0541 on Sunday March 23 at 2:00 pm. Everyone is invited to share in the love of Thea’s memory. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent by check to The Nature Conservancy, attn Thea Hodge Memorial, 201 Mission St, 4th floor, San Francisco CA 94105 and footnoting “Thea Hodge Memorial” on the check itself, or to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto memorial fund.
Eight years ago Thea wrote about herself:
She lived her life fully and much as she wished it to be.
She married young (at 20) and happily. Her husband was 22, handsome and well-educated, kind and loving and healthy. She was lucky and he was lucky. They defined “luck” as being in the right place at the right time and being ready and adventurous enough to take advantage of that juxtaposition, even when it was not easy or comfortable to do so.
They had three wonderful children and she lived long enough to know her beautiful grandchildren. She has done some research into her family’s genealogy and is proud of that heritage as well as being proud of her progeny.
She contributed to the computer age and she contributed, as she was able, to her husband’s successful career.
For several years she has been saying that she has had “a good run for her money.” Every year for the last few has been a gift, for which she thanks the fates, whatever gods there be, and her husband.