Local Obits

Obituary of Catherine Mary (Ackerman) Hodgson

Catherine Mary Hodgson (nee Ackerman and known to most as Caye) passed away peacefully in Scottsdale, Arizona on December 16, 2022 at the age of 97. Catherine is survived by her three children: Tim Hodgson of Syracuse, New York; Mark Hodgson of Tempe, Arizona; and Wendy Hodgson, of Phoenix, Arizona. She was preceded in death by her loving husband, Paul Hodgson and grandson, Benjamin Hodgson, as well as sisters Natalie, Audrey, and Pat; and brothers Don and Ken.

Catherine was born on June 7, 1925 in Cortland, New York and graduated from Cortland High School. Following graduation, she married Paul and relocated to Vienna, New York where she embarked on raising a family in a century-old timber frame former farmhouse. Along with parenting and resurrecting the tired old house, Catherine found time to pursue her many interests. She enjoyed drawing and painting and loved nature and the outdoors, as evidenced by the many summer camping excursions the growing family made into the Adirondack Mountains. That enthusiasm for Earth’s gifts followed her to Arizona in 1988 where she encountered a mesmerizing and dramatically different world to explore. She was a gifted gardener, transforming barren plots into botanical masterpieces that reflected not only her green thumb, but also her artistry and creativity. Her beautiful yard and restored home in Vienna, New York even caught the attention of a Better Homes and Gardens staffer who stopped to take pictures. And years later, once settled in her new Arizona home, she enthusiastically embraced the opportunities that desert gardening presented, combining her love of roses with what she learned about native vegetation.

Gardening, and observing the life that her plants attracted, provided peace, joy and, no doubt, a sense of accomplishment, having provided a haven not only for herself, but for quail and other critters in the middle of a huge metropolis.

Like her children, Catherine also enjoyed music – her favorite songs revealing a surprising diversity of styles and artists. She loved the BeeGees, early Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, The Mommas and Papas, great drumming (Krupa and Rich, of course), and, yes, even Tool! And who among us who witnessed it will forget her rendition of Happy Birthday in the style of Marilyn Monroe five months ago at 97?

Catherine impacted the lives of many in New York and Arizona. She had a great sense of humor and was sharp as a tack, as evidenced by our many trivia games last year. As it is for many who are fortunate to live a long life (she hoped to make it to 100), she was no stranger to challenges – particularly the loss of friends and good health in recent years. Impressively, she met these challenges with resolve and oftentimes humor. May we all possess that strength and spirit – especially in life’s last chapter.

Catherine’s love for gardening was only surpassed by her love of family. Get-togethers for lunch and music, overnighters with her children (and Rowdee, Mark’s cat), or catching up with distant family and friends were what she lived for during her last years. Catherine touched the lives of many over the years and hopefully her legacy of kindness and virtue live on through those she may have influenced.

Sincere gratitude is given to the staff at Hospice of the Valley for their exemplary care for Catherine during her final days. Catherine’s final resting place is in the Cortland Rural Cemetery in Cortland, N.Y. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to Hospice of the Valley, 1510 E. Flower St., Phoenix, AZ 85014 or Arizona Humane Society, 1521 W Dobbins Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85041.

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