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Octogenarian teaches children her love for golf

Ophelia Stone Hodo is doing what she loves once again this summer–teaching junior golf to children at the Marion Military Institute golf course. This year marks the 30th summer she’s taught children to play golf.

“I just love getting out there and swinging that golf club,” she said. “It is very relaxing and the competition is thrilling. Golf is a game that can always be played. Age does not matter. I am 88 years old and I still love to play golf. It’s a sport of good competition and just so much fun!”

Hodo was born in Alexander City and came to Marion in the 1930s to study at Judson College.

“My two sisters and I were in college at the same time,” she said, “so I had to earn money to pay for my education. This was during the depression and times were tough.”

She majored in biology and graduated in 1938.

“I loved my time at Judson,” she said. “It is such a beautiful campus. The faculty and staff there during my time were wonderful.”

After graduation, Hodo taught school for seven years in Alexander City and Jackson, Miss., saving money to go back to school. She decided to enroll at the University of Alabama in Birmingham in 1946–the year the university branched off from the Tuscaloosa campus–and earned her degree in medical technology the same year.

Hodo moved back to Marion in 1951 to oversee the medical lab for Dr. Charles Wilkerson at the new Marion Hospital.

“I moved back to Marion because I thoroughly enjoyed living here. My college years were a lot of fun, and I love the town, so I thought I’d come back and live here for a little while.”

The “little while” she’s lived in Marion include 30 years at the hospital, and the years since her retirement in 1981.

Hodo’s golf class this summer consists mainly of 7th, 8th and 9th graders. “We begin our day with prayer,” she said, “and I teach the boys to be reverent and take off their caps. I think it’s important to teach character as well as a skill. One of the fringe benefits I get is a lot of hugs from the children!” she added with a smile.

Tyler Clements, 13, of Brent is with Hodo for his sixth year of golf. “She’s very wise,” he said, “and she knows what she’s doing. She’s patient with us and very nice, too.”

Hodo attended Siloam Baptist Church as a Judson student, and joined the church upon returning to live in Marion. She’s also a member of the Marion Garden Club, the Triad Club and several bridge groups.

Judson College awarded her the “Outstanding Alumna Award” in 2000.