Paul William Hodge
Born on November 8, 1934 in Seattle, Washington, to Paul and Frances Hodge, Paul passed away on November 10, 2019. He built his first telescope as a teenager to look at the Andromeda galaxy from his backyard in Snohomish. This extracurricular activity likely helped him gain admission to Yale University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics in 1956. He went on to earn a PhD in Astronomy from Harvard in 1960. He came back West as a Post-doctorate Fellow at the Mt. Wilson and Palomar Observatories before joining the Astronomy Department at the University of California, Berkeley. He met his wife, Ann, while she was studying at Mills College, not far from the Berkeley campus.
They had a common bond of both growing up in Snohomish. In 1965, Paul took the opportunity to return to the Pacific Northwest to join fellow Berkeley colleague, George Wallerstein, to establish the University of Washington’s independent Astronomy Department, previously part of the Physics and Math Departments. They both celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Department in 2015. Paul authored numerous books focused on his interests in galaxies, interplanetary dust and meteorites. He and his good friend Francis W. Wright at Harvard published two widely used atlases of the Large and Small Magellanic Cloud galaxies in 1967. He was the graduate student advisor for most of his years at the UW, and likely his most enjoyable professional accomplishment was working with aspiring graduate students as they pursued their PhDs in Astronomy. He also had a knack for making astronomy accessible, teaching budding astronomers about the planets in the introductory Astronomy 150 class for many years. He was Editor-in-Chief of the Astronomical Journal for 20 years from 1984-2004.
In addition to astronomy, Paul enjoyed the outdoors, initially as a mountaineer, scaling Glacier Peak among other mountains in the Cascades. In one of many selfless acts during his life, he gave up the thrill of climbing for hiking when he had his first of three children. He was a member of the Mountaineers for many years and authored several guidebooks on trails in the Pacific Northwest as well as Hawaii, which required extensive “research” on weekends and vacations.
He was a devoted husband to Ann for 57 years and a tremendous father to his sons, Gordy (Sara) and Erik (Tina) and daughter Sandi (Casey), all of whom survive him, as do his nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren. His older brother John, a frequent companion on the trails, also survives him. Paul asked that only a small gathering of immediate family be held in his remembrance to enjoy pie and coffee and each other along with many great memories. He likely would not object if friends and family made donations to either the University of Washington Astronomy Department Paul Hodge Graduate Fund which supports graduate students studying astronomy or the more general Friends of Astronomy Fund at the UW or merely think of him on their next hike.