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Verna Diehl Hodgson

Verna Diehl Hodgson


HAMILTON — Verna Diehl Hodgson passed away at her Hamilton home on Oct. 4, 2020.

Born on her grandparents’ farm outside Hellertown, Pennsylvania, on July 30, 1926, Verna graduated from Collingswood (New Jersey) High School in 1944. Not long after graduation she met her future husband Cal Hodgson, a young sailor, at an ice hockey game in Philadelphia. They found they both liked ice skating and dancing. They married in April 1945 and enjoyed going out dancing together for another 52 years.

The course of their first twenty years together was determined by Cal’s Navy career. Frequent moves up and down the West Coast as well as a stint in Norfolk, Virginia, were a way of life. After his retirement from the Navy in 1965, his new career took them to Phoenix for a few years, but the chance to work in Montana bought them home at last to the Bitterroot Valley in 1970.

Verna was often on her own while raising their three children as Cal served extensive overseas tours of duty. Usually working full time herself as an executive secretary, she was extremely competent, well organized, and independent. After moving to the Bitterroot, she thrived in the very stressful job of Ravalli County Sheriff’s dispatcher in the ‘70s and ‘80s, when each dispatcher worked solo.

She was also finally able to create and enjoy having a large garden, which she loved and maintained for many years. She and Dad made many good friends everywhere they lived, especially in the Corvallis area and American Legion Post 91. She loved bowling, playing cards, solving crosswords, watching football, and Jeopardy! Part of her legacy includes the amazing collection of photograph and scrapbook albums she created in which she chronicled the family history as well as the history of the times through which she lived.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Horace Diehl and Hilda Kline; her husband, Cal; sister, Arlene Anderson; and infant grandson, Catlin Walton. She is survived by her children, Diane Ellis (Jim) of Victor, Keith Hodgson (Taya) of Alaska, and Stacey Scoles (Todd) of Grapeview, Washington; as well as her grandchildren, Christina Olson (Mike) of Culbertson, Kimberly Ellis of Culbertson, Amy Ellis of Victor, Col. Calvin Chad Hodgson (Shannon) of San Antonio, Texas, Rusty Ashabranner of Monterey, California, Casey Walton (Valerie) of Silverdale, Washington, and nine great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Marcus Daly Memorial Hospice. Private family services have been held. Condolences may be left for the family at

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