Ella Jane Clark Hodges

Published 3:35 pm Wednesday, January 24, 2024

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July 14, 1934 – Jan. 22, 2024

SMITHDALE, MS – Ella Jane Clark “Janie” Hodges, age 89, passed away peacefully on Jan. 22, 2024, at Camelot Leisure Living Nursing facility in Ferriday, LA. Janie was born July 14, 1934, to Odis and Lucy Clark in Amite County, MS.
She grew up on a farm with her two sisters and two brothers in the community of East Fork. As a young child she contracted polio at the height of the polio epidemic in the U.S. She spent years re-learning how to walk with the aid of braces and crutches until she eventually walked on her own with only a slight limp. Janie was an excellent student and graduated from Liberty High School. From there she graduated from Southwest Mississippi Junior College (now Community College) and two years later from the University of Southern Mississippi with a B.Ed. in elementary education.
She began a teaching career in McComb, MS. In 1959, she married Nelton Shirley Hodges from Lincoln County, and the couple operated a small gas/convenience store between McComb and Liberty until they moved to Vidalia, LA in 1964. Janie was employed by the Concordia Parish School District where she taught hundreds of first and second-graders for 27 years until her retirement in 1991. She was a gifted and passionate teacher at Vidalia Elementary who was known for the creative touches she brought to learning and the classroom. Her monthly bulletin boards were legendary for their originality and artistry. Her love for her profession extended beyond the classroom as many after-school, evenings, and weekends were devoted to tutoring children who needed extra help, a commitment she continued after retirement.
Janie was an accomplished seamstress who sewed with generosity and joy for others especially her nieces who greatly benefitted from her expertise and attention to beautiful formals, costumes, and wedding/bridesmaid dresses. Her attention to detail and tailoring set her creations apart from the norm. She also enjoyed directing weddings for friends and family members and was adept in flower arranging catering, and event planning. Janie and Nelton loved Vidalia and supported the community. Janie enjoyed membership in the Vidalia Garden Club. As a Christian, she was a 60-year member of Vidalia First Baptist Church where she was active in various leadership roles.
Though the Hodges did not have children of their own, they considered their nieces, nephews, and several local kids as their own and showered them with love and attention. Janie was the role model and mentor to her niece, Tanya Jenkins Mallory Jeannice, who taught in the Vidalia and Natchez schools for 36 years. Tanya’s kids, Alexa and Stewart, considered Janie and Nelton as their MawMaw and PawPaw and were loved and adored in return.
Janie is survived by nieces, Sonja Jenkins of Tupelo, MS; Lucy Sanguinetti (Jay)of Hattiesburg, MS; Ellen Nola (Glynn) and Donna Bowman (Bruce) of Baton Rouge, LA; Robin Buchanan of Florence, MS; Tony Clark (Debbie) of East Fork, MS; and Paul Clark of East Fork, MS; nephew-by-marriage, Mark Jeannice of Deridder, LA; “Grandchildren;”  Alexa Mallory Dewey (Chad) of West Monroe, LA; and Stewart Mallory of Natchez, MS; many great and great-great nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Nelton; her parents, Lucy and Odis Clark; her siblings, Bill Clark; Mildred Jenkins; Anna Freeman and A.J. Clark; a nephew, Butch Clark and her niece, Tanya Jeannice.
Janie’s family would like to thank her many caretakers at Camelot Leisure Living for the care and love they provided to “Miss Ella” and to Enhabit Hospice for their attention and care in the last days of her life.
Visitation for Mrs. Hodges will be from 9 until 11 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, at Young’s Funeral Home in Ferriday, LA with a family graveside service at Oak Grove Cemetery at 14015 Hwy 98 E. Smithdale, MS 39664 at 1:30 p.m.
Donations in her honor may be designated for Vidalia First Baptist Church or Vidalia Elementary School.
To leave an online condolence for the family please visit www.youngsfh.com.

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