Remembering Justice Ralph B. Hodges

The OU College of Law alumni community has lost a notable member and an outstanding public servant with the passing of retired Oklahoma State Supreme Court Justice Ralph B. Hodges on January 16, 2013. His obituary reads that he “was not only a great father, but a humble man whose qualities of honesty and integrity were witnessed by his word and deed to not only his family, but to the state he loved.”

Justice Hodges had an impressive career, serving on the bench for 46 years. He graduated from OU Law in 1954 and worked in private practice for three years before being elected Bryan County Attorney at age 25. In 1958, he became the youngest to be elected District Judge, a position in which he was reelected in 1962.

Justice Hodges made history again when Gov. Henry Bellmon appointed him to the Oklahoma Supreme Court in 1965. At that time, he was the youngest to serve on the Oklahoma Supreme Court since statehood. He served as chief justice in 1977-1978 and 1993-1994, and he retired from the bench in 2004.

His contributions to the judicial arena were recognized many times during his career, including being named the nation’s Outstanding State Appellate Judge by The Association of Trial Lawyers of America in 1976. In 1982, his efforts to allow cameras in the courtroom were recognized by the first Media and Society Award given by the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communications, then called the H.H. Herbert School of Journalism and Mass Communications, at OU.

The OU College of Law community would like to express our most sincere condolences to the family of Justice Hodges. He will be greatly missed.

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