Born on Christmas Day 1935, Cris Hodge (Emma Crystal Flett) was the oldest daughter of four children born to Marguerite and Ben Flett of Delphos, Kansas. Growing up on a farm in rural Kansas with brother Stan and sisters Rose and Joy, Cris learned the values of hard work, honesty, integrity, and always doing your very best— values she later instilled in her own children. Always ready for a challenge, she was one of the first female football players in her high school, was active in 4H and Glee Club, and was the President of Future Homemakers of America. Her stories of life on the Kansas plains became staples of family lore. From tornados and floods to rogue roosters and wayward cattle, her family never tired of her tales of growing up a Kansas farm girl. She began the next chapter of her life in 1959 when she married Robert J. Hodge.
Having an obvious affinity for the letter “M,” Cris proceeded to have eight children, Michelle, Michael, Marci, Monica, Mindy, Mariena, Molly, and finally Mark. From Kansas to Iowa to Sacramento, California, Cris dedicated her life to raising her kids. Shortly before the birth of her 7th child, Cris began a brave journey as a single parent. Upon the birth of her daughter Molly, Cris learned that Molly had down syndrome. The doctors suggested that she not even see the baby and make her a ward of the state, so that Cris would not have to endure the hardships of raising a special needs child. Cris politely but assertively replied, “Please give me my baby now and I’ll be on my way.” It was love at first sight and became a lifetime labor of love to care for Molly in addition to raising all of her children.
Shortly after moving to Sacramento, Cris’ family began to rapidly expand as her children married and began families of their own. The proud grandmother of 19, Cris always had a warm hug, a kind word and a sparkling fruit beverage of your choice at the ready! Through births, sporting events, birthday parties, graduations, and more, Grandma Cris was a constant fixture in her grandchildren’s lives. Christopher, Adam, Joshua, Jeremy, Benjamin, Mitchell, Corey, Ryan, Jason, Tyler, Samantha, Mikey, Aaron, John, Mariah, Anthony, Maya, Taylor Rose and Olivia are all the next generation of Cris’ enduring legacy. And now the 3rd generation has begun with the addition of Aurora and Deserae plus one more on the way.
Though money was always in short supply, Cris managed to provide for her children’s needs. Most importantly, she gave them a solid foundation and was a living example of true strength and grace in the face of adversity. She rarely complained but always saw the best in people and gave unconditional love. All that knew her felt her warm and caring nature and will forever be enriched by her faith in God and love of family. Although battling Alzheimer’s the last years of her life, she was surrounded by loving family who cared for her as she had cared for others all her life. Though she may not have always remembered your name, she always exuded love and compassion and was a source of comfort to her family. She lit up when her grandchildren would visit and would sometimes sing a tune from days gone by. Cris passed away peacefully at home on October 12th, 2018 with family at her side. She was and always will be the heart and soul of her family, now gone in flesh, but present in the Lord.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Friends of Adult Day Health Care to support Yolo Adult Day Health Center, P.O. Box 1964, Woodland, CA 95695.