By Jim Schmiedeskamp
This newsletter issue marks our second Oak Brook TU Chapter member profile, which is a way for our membership to get to know each other better. This issue’s profile features Fred Hodge.
Fred Hodge has always been a “man in motion”—both on the ground, on the water and in the air. He can be found at most chapter youth education volunteer activities—and usually well-tanned thanks to his seasonal visits to a second home in Kauai, one of the more scenic Hawaiian islands.
Fred has enjoyed three primary passions throughout most of his 84 years: fly fishing and fly tying, being involved in the Boy Scouts of America, and aviation.
Fred’s aviation career started after being drafted and trained as an Air Force pilot where he flew single-engine jets, B-25 bombers and C-47 cargo planes. His only “near death” experience occurred when an Air Force T-28 training airplane he was piloting blew up on take-off during his flight training school. Fred moved onto a successful commercial airline career at United Airlines where he spent most of his time piloting DC-6s and 747s for over 30 years. After flying over 40 different Air Force and commercial aircraft, Fred retired as a professional pilot in 1994. However, he continued flying as a volunteer pilot for another 25 years for the Medinah’s Aviators organization, which comprised pilots who flew Shrine Hospital children and their parents or guardians to a Shrine Hospital. Fred’s flights took critically burned children from Chicago to a special Shrine hospital in Cincinnati.
Fred’s involvement in the Boy Scouts started as a youth and attained Eagle Scout status at age 17. He continues to combine his passion for fly fishing education and the Boy Scouts by being a Fly Fishing Merit Badge Counselor and teacher at two annual Boy Scout summer camps in Minnesota and New Mexico in addition to the annual Illinois TU annual summer youth camp in Michigan.
Fred’s commitment to TU youth education was recognized in 2010 with its Youth Counselor Award at its annual celebration.
Fred is the father of three daughters and seven grandchildren.
Hometown: East Lansing, Michigan
Current home: Oak Brook
How long as a TU member: 19 years as a “TU Life Member”
Introduction to fly fishing: At age 12 trout fishing with his father on the Two Hearted River located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula made famous by Ernest Hemingway’s short story on it.
Favorite fishing holes: Michigan’s Au Sable River, the Kenai River in Alaska, and the Madison River in Montana.