Devoted family man and football star remembered

LEGACY OF LOVE: Anthony William Hodgens was a devoted family man who excelled on the football field.

Anthony (Tony) William Hodgens

Born June 13, 1932 – Died August 14, 2020 (aged 88)

ANTHONY William Hodgens – known to most as Tony – will be remembered as an absolute gentleman who loved his football.

Tony passed away on August 14 this year, aged 88, after a vibrant life in which he excelled as a sportsperson and community man but his greatest legacy is as a husband, father and grandfather.

Born in Riverton Hospital on June 13, 1932, Tony was the youngest and fifth child of Henry Leo Hodgens and Gertrude Louise Hodgens (nee Parbs) of Tothill Creek, who were farmers.

The family moved to Saddleworth after the death of Henry on January 29, 1935.

Tony attended Saddleworth Primary School from 1935 to 1945, graduating to Riverton High School (1946-48) and gained an intermediate certificate by passing six subjects (English, French, Physics, bookkeeping, and Maths 1 and 2).

His work life started on March 1, 1949 at the Savings Bank of South Australia head office on Adelaide’s King William Street.

After serving at Norwood and Marryatville branches, Tony was transferred to Millicent in February 1955.

It was soon after that Tony met and formed a relationship with Jennifer Anne Grigg, the only child of Doris Elizabeth Grigg (nee Walker) and Richard (Dick) William Grigg of Millicent.

The couple wed on October 11, 1958 in Mount Gambier, welcoming their first child Mark Anthony Hodgens into the world on April 28, 1960 at Millicent’s Thyne Memorial Hospital.

The couple’s second child Penelope Anne Hodgens was born at Henley Beach Hospital on February 21, 1963 but sadly died on September 15, 1963 at Woodville’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

In the midst of starting their family, Tony was transferred back to Adelaide for work in September 1961 and subsequently served at Allenby Gardens before being appointed to a Mount Gambier-based regional manager position in 1966.

Promoted to branch accountant the same year, Tony worked in Mount Gambier before returning to Saddleworth in 1968 to take on his first branch manager role.

A year later he was transferred to Renmark where he served for seven years before returning to Millicent in 1976.

Wishing to live in Millicent permanently, Tony resigned from the then-State Bank of South Australia following 35 years of service.

In November 1984 Tony was appointed secretary/manager of Boneham Cottage Homes Inc, a position he held until his retirement in December 1996.

It was during this time he became a grandfather, with Alice Emily and Jake Anthony Hodgens arriving on February 1, 1986 and April 17, 1987 respectively.

Tony was also a step-grandfather to Timothy Bates.

Outside of family and work, Tony became a South Australian Justice of the Peace on July 24, 1986 and served in this role for 11 years.

He was also a Lions Club of Renmark member in the early 1970s and transferred to the Millicent Lions in 1976, serving terms as secretary and treasurer before resigning in 1980.

While there were many changes throughout Tony’s life, one constant was his love of sport.

Playing A Grade football for Saddleworth in the 1947-48 seasons, Tony took a year off before returning to the field where he was selected in the Mid North league representative side, named best on ground in a clash with rival league Yorke Peninsula.

Tony joined Magill Football Club in 1951 and played in a losing side in the Norwood association’s grand final, a pain he again felt in 1952 as a Saddleworth player – although he finished third in the league’s Mail Medal count.

A stint with Norwood in 1953 was backed up with just one game in 1954 before he again donned the Saddleworth guernsey, losing another grand final but this time claiming the Mail Medal.

Premiership success finally arrived for Tony in 1955 as part of Millicent Football Club, also earning selection in the South East Boarders interleague team.

More premiership glory came the Saints way in 1956 and Tony starred in the season decider, booting eight goals from centre half forward.

That same year he played in the South East country zone team in Adelaide and the South East Boarders.

Tony remained a pivotal player for Millicent in the 1957-58 seasons, winning the club best and fairest both years.

In 1959 Tony coached Mount Burr to its inaugural premiership and was named captain-coach of the Mid South East interleague team.

Tony returned to Millicent Football Club in 1960 in what was his final year of football before moving back to Adelaide.

His sporting prowess did not end on the football field, also playing cricket across the state – including in the Millicent and District Cricket Association representative side – and was an A Grade table tennis player, finishing runner-up in the state novice championship in 1951.

Tony also played pennant bowls for both the Renmark and Millicent bowls clubs.

He never lost his passion for football and rarely missed a televised game and over the last year or two he enjoyed the South Australia National Football League (SANFL) and his beloved Redlegs.

The dedicated Adelaide fan hoped to live to see another Crows premiership but unfortunately the club collected the wooden spoon in season 2020.

Throughout his life, Tony was held in high regard within the community and remained devoted and meticulous with his work and life in general.

He was quite social in his younger days and used to board in the Top Pub (The George), known as Nenkies in those days, having a beer and catch up with his football mates on a regular basis.

Jennifer and Tony continued to keep in touch with Renmark friends and holidayed together before he became a homebody in his later years, enjoying spending time with his wife.

Tony was devoted and caring, with his main concerns during his last weeks of life for the well-being of his wife Jennifer.

His family has expressed its pride in having him as a husband, father and grandfather.