After Hours: Judge Thomas Hodges

By Pat Buonodono

Judge Thomas Hodges came to my attention when I was looking at the printed program for the 19th Annual Justice Robert Benham Awards for Community Service.  Judge Hodges received one of those awards.  I was drawn to his biography because he presides over a parental accountability court (I work with the Child Support Commission, and it supports these courts; they do amazing work for Georgia’s families), the fact that he sings in his church choir and with another group, is a band booster, and still plays an instrument.  These are just the things we have in common, but there are many other ways in which Judge Hodges serves others.  He’s really a fascinating guy!

Judge Thomas HodgesThe Honorable Thomas L. Hodges, III has served as a Judge of the Superior Court of the Northern Judicial Circuit since 1999.  He currently serves as the Chief Judge for the Circuit and as the Presiding Judge for the Parental Accountability Court.  Prior to assuming his current position, Judge Hodges served as a State Court Judge from 1993-1999, and as Solicitor of the State Court of Elbert County from 1981-1992.

Hodges is known for his service in the Elberton community. As the father of five children, Hodges coached little league teams – in all sports, and always managed to get five children to four different ball fields. Hodges also led many youth sports fund raisers, and would be seen at various events working in the concession stands, supporting the programs, and participating in the Pride in Blue Marching Band Club. Says one Benham Award endorser, "He not only supported his own children, but also the children and youth of the entire community."  Hodges is also well known for his civic endeavors.  He twice served as President of the Kiwanis Club of Elberton. He also served as President of the Optimist Club of Elberton, an organization that strives to bring out the best in the youth in the community. Hodges also previously served as a Director of the Elbert County Chamber of Commerce and as the Board Chairman of the Broad River District Boy Scouts of America.

Hodges is a member of the Elberton First United Methodist Church where he participates in all facets of church life. He currently serves as Chairman of the Finance Committee and as the President and Treasurer of the Chancel Choir.  Hodges is also a member of the Harmonizers, a men's singing group.  He is a former chairman of the church's Administrative Board. For many years, Hodges was also a certified lay speaker for the United Methodist Church, and he spoke and preached at other Methodist churches in the area. Hodges has also taught an adult Sunday school class of predominantly senior citizens on a rotating monthly schedule that has been broadcast on a local radio station. He is also a constant presence at community outreach and charitable projects done by the church.

Hodges plays the tuba, and he has an accomplished singing voice. He lends these talents to the community.  Hodges has played the tuba in Athens, Georgia with the Classic City Band, the oldest continuous community band in Georgia, for approximately 15 years.  He also serves as a section leader for the band. When Elberton revitalized its community theater in the early 2008, Hodges was always playing in the orchestra or singing in the chorus. He also participates in other community bands and orchestras in Elberton, Hartwell and Athens.

Within the legal community, Hodges has served as President of the Northern Circuit Bar Association and as President of the Elberton Bar Association. He is known for quickly holding hearings affecting families and children before major holidays.  Hodges is also known for mentoring young lawyers and helping young lawyers to learn how to practice law.  For approximately 18 years, Hodges has also provided career growth opportunities for students through the Extern Program at the University of Georgia Law School, and has mentored many law students through that program.

One of Hodges’ Benham Award endorsers says: "Judge Hodges has been a bedrock of the community of Northeast Georgia and Elbert County." Another endorser writes: "Our community is a better place because of the Honorable Thomas L. Hodges, III."

Hodges received his B.A. from Emory University in 1969 and his J.D., with honors, from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1972. While in law school, he also served on the Editorial Board for the Georgia Law Review.  Hodges and his wife, Beth, have been married for almost 42 years. They have five children and 11 grandchildren.



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