William (Buddy) Hodges, an inspirational figure
My father, William Bealle (Buddy) Hodges, was born in 1931, the second of four children, to Marie and Ernest Hodges. He was raised on his parents’ farm in Stonewall, Texas, which is situated next to the LBJ ranch along the Pedernales River in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. Though he served as both an officer in the Navy and worked many years for the National Park Service, he was first and foremost a farmer.
Ernest and Marie Hodges with their four kids
Buddy Hodges in his pecan orchard
Buddy’s true love was growing things and living off of the land, and he spent most of his life on his farm. Along with raising cattle, pigs, sheep, and goats, Buddy farmed many different crops, including peaches and various grains, over the years, but he favored his pecans. Buddy planted his first pecan orchard in 1968 and became known throughout the region for his expertise, especially related to tree grafting. Being self-reliant, hard-working, and caring for family, community, and nation were very important to this respected man of honor and distinction. Buddy passed away at the age of 86 in 2017. His strong presence and wisdom are sorely missed every day by his family.
My name is Aimee (Hodges) Ransleben and my life began the same year as our orchards. Living on a farm of course meant that it was “all hands on deck” when it came to harvesting peaches and pecans, among many other chores. Picking peaches was our job during the summers and picking up pecans our job during the autumns. We worked right alongside our parents to get those crops harvested and to market. It was not always fun work but helped us to learn the value of hard work and contributing to the bottom-line.
Buddy and Sharon Hodges with their five kids
Aimee (Hodges) Ransleben on the Stonewall farm
My husband and I share many happy memories of our childhood in the Texas Hill Country in spite of the many chores and responsibilities we had growing up on farms. After living in various locations around our beautiful country and the world, our shared memories were the impetus that brought us back to our home to live and raise our family. My greatest desire and goal is to build on my father’s love for pecan farming by creating a sustainable business whereby I can supply orchard fresh pecans to you.
Service to Country
Buddy Hodges began his Naval career in 1953 after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University) and attending OCS Training. He was a veteran of the Korean Conflict and the Cold War. After six years of service in the Navy, Buddy returned home to help his parents with the family farm.
LT William (Buddy) Hodges on board the
USS Cassia County off the coast of Korea
US Navy mid-1950s
My service to our country began after I graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1990. I am a veteran of operations spanning from Desert Shield and Desert Storm to the Global War on Terror, and will soon retire with more than 23 years in the Naval Service. It has been an honor to follow in my father’s footsteps by serving my country.
LT Aimee Hodges on board the
USS Enterprise in the Atlantic Ocean
US Navy 2003