Mary Eleanor Hodge, 83 of Land O’ Lakes, died Saturday the 22nd of June, 2019 at Tampa Lakes Health & Rehabilitation Center in Lutz, Florida of natural causes. She was a native of Madison, Wisconsin and moved to the Tampa area in May of 1972. Mrs. Hodge was preceded in death by her husband of 57 years, Bobby Hodge, on the 3rd of December 2011. Bobby was a country music entertainer who first appeared on the Grand ‘Ole Opry in 1961.
Her survivors include her sons Bob Hodge, Jr. and his wife Aimee, Ron Hodge and his late wife Jackie, Richie Hodge and his wife Tammy; and Rodney Hodge. Mary’s grandchildren are Brittany Hodge and fiancé Kris Bunk, Justin Hodge and wife Tammy, Byron Rose and wife Amanda; and Austin Rose. She also had six great grandchildren and many close friends.
Mary Hodge’s professional career included many years as a Thoroughbred Horse Trainer at Tampa Bay Downs. She was leading trainer in 1985 and second leading trainer in 1986. She and Bobby owned and raced thoroughbred horses at the Downs and several other racetracks across the country. Mary Hodge Racing Stables won their first stakes race in 1981 at The Ruddy Belle Handicap at Calder in Miami making history as the first all-woman cast including the filly Miss. Tarpon Woods. In her career she accumulated 100s of wins and saddled countless horses. Her love of horses was evident, and she possessed an uncanny ability to bring out the very best in their performances. During her career, the horses she trained finished in the money over 50 percent of the time. She was also featured on many TV newscasts during her career.
Mary and Bobby Hodge also owned several nightclubs in Wisconsin as well as the Tampa area including The Maverick Lounge in Oldsmar and the Longhorn Saloon in Tampa.
She loved gardening and singing karaoke.
A memorial service with the family will be hosted by the Women of the Moose on August 10, 2019 at 1:00 PM at the North Hillsborough Moose Lodge, 8908 Lake Sunset Drive, Tampa, FL 33626. She will later be interred with her husband at a private service at Trinity Memorial Gardens.
The family has entrusted care and services to Loyless Funeral Home.