Joan Mary Thomas Hodgman
Charlestown, N.H. — Joan Mary Thomas Hodgman died on Wednesday, May 21, 2014. She was born on Sept. 5, 1924, in London, England of a Scottish mother, Jessie (Ritchie) Thomas, and a Welsh father, William O. Thomas. She attended St. Mary Abbot’s School in Kensington. In September, 1939, shortly after the outbreak of World War II, she joined the British Army, served six years and was discharged late in 1945. While in the service, she was assigned the duty of writing to the families of downed RAF pilots, which drew on her lifelong interest in journalism. Also, while in the army, she met and fell in love with a member of the US Navy, Wilbur C. Hodgman, who was attached to Naval Intelligence and serving in London at the time. They were married on Sept. 21, 1946, at St George’s Church of England in Kensington, and remained lovingly devoted to each other until his death in July 8, 2009.
Shortly thereafter, she emigrated to the United States, settling in Goshen, N.H., and then Claremont where she and Wilbur lived for over 60 years and raised their four children. In 1953, she proudly became a citizen of the United States while still holding deep feelings for her native land. The last two years of her life were spent at Peaceful Harvest Nursing Home in Charlestown.
During her life in Claremont she was a strong supporter of the education system and wrote a letter of gratitude to Superintendent George Disnard upon the graduation of her fourth child from Stevens High School in 1978. She was the secretary at Trinity Church for 35 years retiring in 2005 at the age of 81. She supported many causes including the ABC (A Better Chance) program in Claremont in 1970 when she and Wilbur sponsored an inner city youth, Hardia Madden, and developed a lifelong friendship. She fervently supported the Civil Rights Act and Equal Rights Amendment of the 60’s and 70’s and generally supported humanistic efforts around the globe.
She had many interests including reading, knitting, gardening, cooking, camping, crossword puzzles and, in later years, became interested in using her computer for e-mail and playing Free Cell. She and Wilbur enjoyed several family trips to Disney World, Canada and the coast of Maine. Of overriding importance, however, was her passion for family, celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, special school events, sports, plays, recitals and other activities that her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and sister’s sons were involved in over the years. Family and church were at the center of her life.
She is survived by her four children, Anthony and his spouse, Sharon, of Claremont, Stephen and his spouse, Isabelle, of Bedford, Wendy Zombeck, and her spouse, Fran, of Claremont, and Jessica Hodgman, and her partner, Craig, of Cornish; eight grandchildren, Mark Hodgman, Lisa Murray, Dylan Bladen, Ryan Hodgman, Molly Bladen, Thomas Hodgman, Caitlin Hodgman and Jeffrey Murray; two great grandchildren, Mackenzie Murray Brown and Autumn Lanou; nephews and nieces, John and David Rzucidlo, Bruce, Bobby, Frank and Judy Hodgman, Peter Harris and their spouses; several other relatives and many friends.
She was preceded in death by one son, Mark P. Hodgman; two brothers, Robb Harris and William Harris; one sister, Patricia Thomas Rzucidlo Nicholson.
Visiting hours will be held at Stringer Funeral Home on Broad Street in Claremont, N.H. on Wednesday evening, May 28 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
A Christian burial service will be held at Trinity Episcopal Church on Broad Street in Claremont on Thursday, May 29 at 11 a.m. with Susan Langle officiating. Burial will follow in West Claremont Burying Ground.
The family suggests donations be made in her memory to the Trinity Episcopal Church, 172 Broad St. Claremont and/or Peaceful Harvest Nursing Home, 144 Paris Avenue in Charlestown.
To view an online memorial or send a private message of condolence, visit www.stringerfh.com.