Wednesday, February 24, 2021
12:30 PM to 1:00 PM EST
Maple Grove Cemetery
Life Story / Obituary
As her family and friends can attest, Katherine Hodgson truly understood the secret to a life well lived. She was vibrant and fun-loving, and her zest for life was contagious to all who were near. Kate treasured her family above all else, and she tirelessly served others. Her skills in the kitchen were unmatched, and her love for the outdoors was easy to see. Life will never be the same without Kate here, but she leaves behind a timeless legacy that her loved ones will proudly carry on in her footsteps.
Life during the 1930s was anything but easy as the entire decade was cloaked in the hardship of the Great Depression. Although there were endless challenges, the American spirit remained. It was amidst these challenges that Peter and Lupke (Knoll) Smith were able to shift their focus to an exciting time in their lives as they announced the birth of the baby girl they named Katherine on March 19, 1932, in Decatur, Michigan.
Growing up, Kate, or “Dutch” as she was often known, was a typical young girl of her generation in many ways. She was raised in the family home in alongside her siblings Dick, Gert, Alma, Kryno, Rena, Chuck, Louise, and Pat. Kate began learning the meaning of hard work at a young age from her parents. Her father worked in cold storage for vegetables while her mother was a locally well-known midwife who also raised chickens. Kate and two of her sisters were in charge of gathering the eggs every morning, putting them in cartons, and using a wagon to pull them to the railway station to ship them to Detroit. Christmas was always a favorite holiday, and these three sisters were known to peek at their gifts ahead of time. They would each get a dress that their sister had made and sent them. And then on Christmas eve, their mother would take her and Louise and Pat to church to get their other present. They would get a little sack made of cellophane with a ribbon on it. Inside would be an orange, peanuts in the shell, and candy that was like taffy. The candy would melt all over the peanuts and she always said, "but we didn't care, we ate them- shells and all."
Kate attended local schools including Decatur High School. She also got a job selling movie tickets at “The Show” in downtown Decatur, using the money she earned to buy her school clothes and supplies.
After graduating in 1950, Dutch moved to Detroit and lived with her sister, Gert, however, she moved back to Decatur after becoming homesick. Once back home, she got a job at Bell Telephone in Kalamazoo, which is where she met her best friend, Peggy Hotop. They worked for a short time and then in 1952 they decided to move to Washington D.C., where Kate got a job working as a secretary and bookkeeper at Cochrane Transportation Company. It was there that she met the man of her dreams. His name was William Hodgson, and it didn’t take them long to fall in love. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, Kate and Bill were married in a small ceremony at her sister Gert’s house on December 28, 1957. Kate wore a blue suit that day.
There was nothing more important to Kate than her family. She and Bill welcomed their first baby girl, Toni, in May of 1959. By 1962 they were waiting on their second arrival, during which time they moved back to Michigan. Baby girl number two, Kimberly, was born in November of 1962. The Hodgson family spent the next few years living at El Rancho trailer park in Kalamazoo until 1969 when Bill saw their future home for sale. The family, along with their beloved Dalmatian, Wendy, moved to Red Arrow Highway in January of 1970. This was the place they called home and made cherished memories with their family for more than 50 years. Kate made their home so beautiful as she was an avid gardener who grew both flowers and vegetables. When grandchildren came along, she was over the moon excited, and even more when great-grandchildren arrived. It was February of 1986 when her first grandchild, Breanne, was born. Then again in December of 1991 Christopher was born. Kate loved playing with her grandkids and watching them play sports. In June 2017 her first great-granddaughter, Rayley, was born. A fond memory for Chris was when he was little, he had a polka-dot pop up play tunnel. Chris would get in the middle of that and say, "you can't get me, grandma!" and she would say, "watch me!" and got on her hands and knees and crawled in that tunnel and got him!
She then had two more great- granddaughters, Joy in December 2018 and Yvaine in September of 2020. Kate was an amazing cook, especially for large gatherings, and everything she made was amazing. Their family was especially fond of her pineapple upside down cake, which came to be known as "I didn't do it grandma, you did it” among family insiders.
There were so many things to love and appreciate about Kate. She had so many wise words like, “You get further with honey than you do vinegar,” and, "Think it, don't say it.” Of course she also told her grandchildren, Breanne and Chris, to do good in school and get all A’s. Truly beautiful on the inside, Kate also made the world around her so beautiful as she had a fantastic green thumb. It has been said that she and Bill have the best looking yard on Red Arrow, and people would often stop by just to see her flowers. They always had a huge garden and canned both her tomatoes and green beans. Kate also made jam with the strawberries and raspberries and rhubarb. She loved watching the Detroit Tigers and U of M as well as old westerns with Bill.
All who knew Katherine Hodgson would agree that she was the most special gift anyone could experience. She was kind, thoughtful, and generous beyond compare with a love for life that was easy to see. Although she treasured her roles as a wife and mother, Kate just might have argued that nothing was better than becoming a grandmother and great-grandmother. A woman of so many gifts and talents, there was nothing she couldn’t do. Deeply loved, Kate will be forever missed. She was the best wife, mom, grandma, great-grandma, cook and gardener in the world.
Katherine Hodgson died on February 19, 2021. Katherine was preceded in death by her parents, Peter and Lupke, eight siblings, Dick, Gertrude, Alma, Kryno, Rena, Charles, Louise, and Patricia. Surviving are her husband, William; children: Toni Hart (Dave Quick), Kimberly (Greg) Yost; grandchildren: Breanne Hart, Christopher (Vicki) Yost; great-grandchildren: Rayley Hart, Joy and Yvaine Yost; and many nieces and nephews. Visit with family and friends 10 AM to 12PM on Wednesday February 24, 2021 at Betzler & Thompson Life Story Funeral Home, 60900 Michigan 40 Paw Paw 269-657-3870. Graveside services will be Wednesday 12:30 PM at Maple Grove Cemetey. Visit Katherine’s personal webpage at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com where you may read her Life Story, archive a favorite memory or photo, and sign her online guestbook.