Our mother Julia Gendron Hodgdon was born on Aug. 5, 1942, the youngest child of Hulda Dahlsing and Elton Gendron.
She happily spoke of growing up in Cascade Flats in a loving family with Pearl, Theresa, Carl, Verlie, Priscilla "Kelly," David and Ellen Jane. These siblings looked after her, especially Verlie and husband Wallace who took her in when their parents died while Julie was just a teenager.
She later lived at, then graduated from Our Lady of the Mountains Academy in Gorham. While there, she began her lifelong career of greeting people with smiles, first at Junior Tanner’s family’s inn in Shelburne, then at the Golden Restaurant and other diners in Gorham.
Later, she worked for her sister Theresa at the Berlin Travel Bureau, then at jobs on the top and the bottom of Mount Washington and eventually at Walmart.
Mountain connections introduced her to Russell "Casey" Hodgdon, whom she married on her last day as a teenager on Aug. 4, 1962, at St. Kieran’s in Berlin.
Those first years she lived alone a week or two at a time, even giving birth to Travis while Casey was at the Observatory on Mount Washington.
A daughter Trisha soon followed and later Mark White joined our family for a time.
Mom and Dad worked so hard keeping us warm, fed and loved, first on Washington Street across from the Gosselin’s then on Mill Street by Libby’s Pool, where they enjoyed summer evenings sitting on "the rock" looking at the Carter-Moriah Range.
Julie spent years cooking dinners after long days at work and would save a couple dollars at a time throughout the year to buy us new school clothes and give us wonderful birthdays and Christmases. The wants, wishes and dreams of her husband and children became her own and she smiled most when others were happy.
Mom and Dad were always happy to welcome us home, first with friends then our own loved ones and families. Trish married Ron in 1990, and after being the in-town Grammy to the Kernan Family, Julie and Casey became grandparents to Natty, Libby and Sam.
Dad got sick and died in 2002 leaving Mom with memories she talked about up until just last week.
In 2006, Travis married Gretchen in Key West — the venue for the smiling, lei-wearing Julia in the photos we all love. She became a grandmother twice more to Cooper, then Teddy — all her grandchildren will remember feeling her love and pride.
Never living more than 5 miles from where she was born, she did like to travel. A honeymoon on the Maine Coast, family trips to Nova Scotia and Disney World, and a trip with friend Anita to her home in Germany were her favorites.
She enjoyed the company of close in-laws Gramp and Jude on the Gulf Coast of Florida and loved the many road trips with "Brother" Carl to wherever their conversations would take them.
Her happiest times after Dad died were the adventures with her wonderful friends Mary and Pearl. Her friend Bill Thompson was also good company.
Her last years were spent with many supportive friends like Pat, Ray and others at Birch Grove, where everyone looked after each other to make things work.
The help of visiting nurses like Carol and others, and the caring staff at Androscoggin Valley Hospital soon became necessary and more frequent. Throughout it all, Julie the pragmatist made the difficult decisions and Mom the optimist continued to smile and made the best of things.
The wonderful, dedicated and caring staff like Darci and so many others at the Coos County Nursing Home made the last months of Julie’s life comfortable and safe during very challenging times. Donations to the activities fund there would make Julie happy.
Phone calls from nieces, grandkids, her sister Ellen, and friends like Ginny and others were her cherished connections to the outside world.
Last week, after Mom made sure both of us were happy and going to be OK, she told us she loved us and that she was ready to go.
Born a Catholic, she died peacefully, comfortably, with a rosary in her hand and Travis and Trisha at her side on March 23, 2021. Because Dad was such a believer in heaven too, his 86th birthday was very special. We love you both and always will.
Julie's children and grandchildren will gather for dinner in her honor at the Glen House this summer. She will be buried next to Casey in the Lary Cemetery in Gorham. The Bryant & Fleury-Patry Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.