September 08, 2020
Click here to read Mr. Hodges' obituary
It is with regret and sympathy that we announce former Taylor Porter Partner Robert Harold Hodges (1931-2020) passed away Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020.
Hodges began his career with Taylor Porter in 1966, practicing as a preeminent real estate lawyer in Baton Rouge until his retirement in 2001. He continued to practice law thereafter as of counsel to the firm. In 1981 he became president of the American Collage of Mortgage Attorneys (ACMA) and from 1981-1988 he was the Chairman of the Publications Committee and the Editor of the Abstract, ACMA's annual publication.
Hodges attended Clinton High School where he played football and basketball. He and some friends also started a weight lifting club and worked out for a time in the basement of the Marston House. His senior year he was elected Class President for the class of 1949. After graduating from Clinton High, he enrolled that Fall in the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss). While at Ole Miss he was a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity, Ole Miss Weight Lifting Team, Scabbard & Blade. He enrolled in an expedited study program which allowed the student to complete undergraduate and law school (normally a seven year course of study program) in six years. Robert completed the course of study program in four years. While at Ole Miss he won multiple scholarly recognitions being inducted into several honorary organizations including: Phi Eta Sigma (freshman scholastics), Eta Sigma Phi (classics), Claiborne Historical Society, Tau Kappa Phi (forensic), Arnold Air Society (military) and Phi Delta Phi (legal). His senior year in law school he was appointed Ole Miss Editor in Chief of the Mississippi Law Journal (Law Review), the highest honor at Ole Miss Law School. He graduated number two in his Law School Class, despite also having the obligation of editing the law school's scholarly legal publication and the tragic murder of his father during an un-resisted armed robbery outside of the family owned Joy Theater Picture Show in Clinton, in the summer of 1952. He also represented Ole Miss Law School as the Moot court representative as the Southern Moot court competition in Atlanta in 1952. He graduated Law School in 1953 at the age of twenty-one. On Graduation Day he received an undergraduate degree (B.A.), a Law degree (LLB), a commission in the U.S. Air Force as a Second Lieutenant and immediate admission as a member of the Mississippi Bar Association, there being no bar exam in those days.
From 1953-1955, Hodges served in the U.S. Air Force where he served as a Judge Advocate (legal officer) holding the rank of First Lieutenant when he was honorably discharged. He had been stationed at Laughlin Air Force Base at Del Rio, Texas. After his discharge, he enrolled in L.S.U. Law School, where at the end of one year he was awarded a second law degree (LLB), and admitted to the Louisiana Bar that year (1956). While at L.S.U. he was one of eight students in the U.S. to be awarded fellowships from the Institute of International Education of New York for a year of study in Spain, where he attended the University of Madrid and completed his academic work toward a Doctor of Laws Degree. After returning from Spain, he began the private practice of law at the law firm of Love & Hodges in Ferriday, Louisiana. While in Ferriday he was appointed by Gov. Jimmy Davis to the Office of the Attorney to Assist the Inheritance Tax Collector. He served three (3) terms as Secretary/Treasurer of the Ferriday Chamber of Commerce; in which position he was instrumental in bringing the Concordia Parish General Hospital to Ferriday. He was a principal founder of the Junior Chamber of Commerce, and was its first President (1961-1962). He was also a member of the Ferriday Rotary Club. He was President of the Ferriday High School Quarterback Club. During that time he was also a member of, and a Sunday school teacher at, the First Baptist Church of Ferriday. In 1962 he was awarded the Man of the Year for Outstanding Service by the Concordia Sentinel, at the age of thirty-one (31).
In 1985, Hodges saved from demolition an old farmhouse on Highland Road which had been built by one of the original Kleinpeters and he undertook its renovation. The house was subjected to a scholarly, historic investigation and was determined to have been constructed circa 1796. The house was listed by the U.S. Department of the Interior on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. In 1989 the Joseph Petitpierre (Klienpeter) House won the grand prize from the National Trust for Historic Preservation as the first winner of the Great American Home award for its spectacular renovation.
He became involved in the Foundation for Historical Louisiana in 1986 (then called the Foundation for the Preservation of Historical Louisiana) when he joined the Foundation Board of Directors. From 1988-1990 he served as president of that Foundation. Among the highlights of his tenure as president are the passage of Act 467 of the 1989 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature (R.S.56:1946) recognizing and designating Highland Road in East Baton Rouge Parish as a Historic Road and Scenic Parkway. Hodges was also instrumental in the establishment of the Governor's Award of the A. Hays Town Order of Merit for outstanding achievement. Mr. Town was the initial recipient of this award, which was presented to him by Governor Buddy Roemer in 1989. Following his term as president, Hodges continued to serve the Foundation by rejoining its Board of Directors. Thereafter he has continued to serve as a member of the Board of Directors for most of the years that have passed since his presidency; and he was an emeritus member of the Board of Directors at the time of his passing. His decades of work with the Foundation have helped to inspire public awareness of the importance of the preservation of the historical and architectural treasures of Louisiana. He was a founding member, in the Historic Highland Road Homeowners Association, and in that capacity, he has over the decades, attended countless Zoning Commission hearings and City Council meetings, speaking against ill-advised development along Highland Road that would have undermined its historical quality.
Hodges loved the Spanish language. He became a fluent expert in the language and he acted as the translator for the Louisiana Supreme Court and Bar Association members visit to Madrid where they met the king of Spain, Juan Carlos in 1982. He ran with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. He loved football, Ole Miss, Clinton, ice cream, hamburgers and his cat Tigre.
Visitation will be on Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at Rabenhorst Funeral Home (825 Government St., Baton Rouge, LA 70802) from 12:00 pm until the funeral service at 1:00 pm. The graveside service will be on Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 1:00 pm in West Shady Grove Cemetery in Tomnolen, Mississippi. Masks & social distancing to be observed.