Thelma Hodges

Thelma Hodges

Thelma Hodges, longtime Naples resident and namesake of Hodges University, will be honored for her service to the community at the inaugural Thelma Hodges High Tea scheduled for March 28 from 2 – 4 p.m. at the Ritz-Carlton, Naples.

Proceeds from the event will be dedicated to the Thelma Hodges Friends of the University Scholarship Fund. The contributions of Thelma Hodges and her late husband Earl Hodges are significant, spanning over 50 years of service in Southwest Florida. Their generous gifts of time, effort and funds have strengthened the business environment, the role of charitable organizations and families.

The Hodges’ are perhaps best recognized as owners of the Earl G. Hodges Funeral Chapel in Naples, which provided more than 40 years of business and service to the local community. The Hodges have had a number of other successful business interests both in and out of state and have been actively involved in a countless number of local causes.

Originally from Lawrence, Massachusetts, Thelma worked for many years as a Registered Nurse and was one of three original employees at the Naples Community Hospital (hired three months prior to its opening in 1956). Before coming to Naples, she was associated with the Providence Lying-In Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island. Thelma met Earl during a blind date for the Junior Women’s Tinsel Ball in Naples about six months after he moved to Naples.

After they married on June 26, 1958, Thelma proceeded to work for the hospital for more than 20 years and at different times was Supervisor of the operating room, central supply and emergency room.

Today, Thelma is still an advocate and active volunteer for Naples Community Hospital. In recognition of her many years of service, NCH presents the Thelma Hodges Nurse Mentor of the Year Award annually to exceptional nurses at the hospital.

Over the years, Thelma has been a mentor to many. In fact, five former employees of the Hodges Funeral Chapel went on to own their own funeral homes.

Thelma was president of the Junior Women’s Club and Visiting Nurses’ Council, as well as chairman of the Old Timers’ Association. She has been a volunteer at NCH for over 40 years, spending many years working at the White Elephant Thrift Store there.

In 2007, the Hodges’ made a significant contribution to what was then known as International College, affecting the name change to Hodges University, in honor of these incredible philanthropists and humanitarians.

In August, 2012, the city of Naples proclaimed that month as “Earl and Thelma Hodges Month” in honor of the recognition of the 50th year of the founding of Hodges’ funeral home.

Earl Hodges died in October, 2013, but Thelma continues to volunteer for meaningful causes in the community.

The Ritz-Carlton, Naples is located at 280 Vanderbilt Road. For more information or to make reservations for the event, please call

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