"To Serve This Present Age"

Floral 11


Leah Coles Hodges

March 5, 2018

LEAH COLES HODGES died peacefully on Monday, March 5, 2018 in Charlottesville, Virginia at Rosewood Village, Assisted Living and Memory Care where she lived for the last 10 years.  She was preceded in death by her husband of 43 years, Clemmon H. Hodges, Sr., her parents Leroy and Eva Coles, her sister Naomi Coles Caver and her brother Leroy R. Coles, Jr.   She is survived by two sons, C. Howie Hodges, II (Elizabeth) of Falls Church, VA, Kevin Coles Hodges (Carolyn Washington) of Dallas Texas, two sisters, Georgianna Coles McLean, Smithfield, NC, and Marie Coles Baker, Charlottesville, VA, sister-in-law Constance J. Coles, Raleigh, NC and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, godchildren and friends around the country.

Leah Elsie Coles was born in Buffalo, New York to Leroy and Eva Coles, May 12, 1929, the middle child of the Coles’ five children. From early on, Leah was a “doer” in the family nick-named “The General”, emerging as a family leader and organizer.  Leah, along with the family, was a lifelong member of First Shiloh Baptist Church.   She attended Sunday School there, was a member of the Baptist Young People’s Union, (later known as BTU Baptist Training Union), sang in the youth choir and served on the Junior Usher Board.  She met her husband, the late Clemmon H. Hodges, Sr. at Shiloh while they were both graduate students where they became a formidable team in their church and the Buffalo community.  She continued her work in the church throughout her life until she moved to Charlottesville, VA.

Leah graduated from Hutchinson Central High School, earned an undergraduate degree from Buffalo State College and a Master’s Degree in Education. She began her career as a nursery school teacher, then kindergarten, pre-primer, and first grade at PS# 6 and PS# 53 then onto principal at PS#15.  Leah completed certifications in Reading and Supervisory Administration at Niagara University.  She was the Director of the Model Cities Environmental Responsive Program.  She retired from the Buffalo Public School System as the superintendent for elementary education after 33 years of service.  Leah had many, many talents. She was an excellent cook; decorator, mother, aunt and she played the violin from elementary school through college.

Leah’s community involvement and leadership roles were extensive.  The many organizations with which she was involved included president of Delta Kappa Gamma, an education society; president of the Buffalo Chapter of The Links, Incorporated; board member of the Baptist Manor, WEBR radio station; committees of the YWCA of Buffalo and Erie County, the College Club; the Community Advisory Council of the SUNY at Buffalo; a life-long member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Gamma Phi Omega Chapter.

Among her many interests, Leah loved learning and exploring and with her husband they enjoyed traveling to various countries in Africa, China, Greece, Italy, Germany and more.

This fine woman exemplified a unique blend of gentleness, strength and faith.  Known for her quick smile and gracious spirit, Leah, with her husband, Clem, participated in a variety of service projects that always focused on making life better for others.   The couple frequently invited newcomers to the area to visit their home and their church. They encouraged young people to continue their education and become active members in the Buffalo community.   The Hodges name will resonate with many and be remembered as a positive and loving impact on the lives they touched along the way.

 In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to The Alzheimer’s Association of Central Virginia, 1160 Pepsi Place, Suite 301, Charlottesville, VA 22901.  (Subject line to read:  2018Walk/Marie Coles Baker-Team Andy’s Angels/In Memory of Leah Hodges).

Family will receive friends Wednesday, March 14, 2018, 10am at First Shiloh Baptist Church, 15 Pine St. Buffalo, NY. Home Going Service to follow at 11am. Interment at Forest Lawn Cemetery.

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