In Memoriam: Kernan R. Hodges

In Memoriam: Kernan R. Hodges
Kernan R. Hodges | September 25, 1937 - June 12, 2022

SEPTEMBER 25, 1937 – June 12, 2022

Kernan R. Hodges, 84, of Jacksonville passed away peacefully at her home on June 12, 2022.  A native of Franklin, Tennessee and lifelong equine enthusiast, by her teenage years, she was already widely known for her equestrian expertise.  She was a founding member of the Middle Tennessee Pony Club, the first such club chartered by the United States Pony Club, where she was the first member in the United States to earn an “A” rating.  Later, after studying equitation at Southern Seminary in Buena Vista, Virginia, she returned to Nashville to complete her education at Peabody Teacher’s College.  In 1962, she moved to Jacksonville to accept a job managing the newly-established Deerwood Riding & Hunt Club, where she worked until shortly after her marriage to George H. Hodges, Jr. three years later. 

In 1966, Kernan and George founded the aptly-named Deep Forest Stables, Inc. located in the heart of the Hodges family’s 5,000 acre timberland property on the south side of Jacksonville where she personally directed the raising, training and boarding of Hunter-Jumpers.  There, Kernan’s down-to-earth personality and countenance of a Southern matron were evident alongside her willingness to do the physical labor necessary for the wellbeing of her horses and the land she lived on.

In 1968, she helped establish the North Florida Hunter-Jumper Association and thereafter served on its Board of Directors for near fifty years.  She was an “A” rated judge, Life Member of the American Horse Shows Association, and a member of the Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders Association and the United States Equestrian Team.

Anyone who knew Kernan quickly came to accept her complete and never-ending devotion to husband George, and in their 54 years of marriage, they never spent a night apart.  Together, they traveled the Hunter-Jumper Horse Show circuit for a number of years, enjoyed various athletic activities and shared hands-on management of the family holdings in Florida and across the country.  As an active business partner with George, she served as a corporate officer and Director of Hodges Blvd. Development Group, Inc., Glen Kernan Realty, Inc., Excel Air, Inc., Fox Air, Inc. and various other enterprises.

Through the years, Kernan and George continued the Hodges family’s philanthropic support of numerous benevolent and educational organizations, including among others, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville University and the University of North Florida, The Bolles School, Children’s Home Society and Hodges Boulevard Presbyterian Church.  In 2016, they were named to the UNF Athletics Department’s Hall of Fame for their contribution and development of the Hodges Track & Field Stadium and the Browning Rehab Center located at the stadium.

In addition to her husband George, she was preceded in death by her parents, Clair D. and Elizabeth Faw Regen, and sister Betty Claire Regen (ABe) Cathey, all of Franklin, Tennessee.  She is survived by a nephew, John Regen (Leia) Cathey of Jacksonville, and niece Carrie Elizabeth Melson of Franklin, Tennessee, in addition to a great niece and nephew and numerous cousins.

A private funeral service and internment was held at the family mausoleum with Rev. Thomas Borland officiating.  Honorary pallbearers were Leonard L. Abess, Lloyd E. “Gene” Barton, Jr., Dr. A.W. “Buster” Browning, Jr., Gen. Douglas Burnett, Michael W. Garrett, Phillip W. Gibson, Paul M. Harden, John H. “Johnny” Randolph and Thomas C. Rorrer. In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made to Hodges Boulevard Presbyterian Church or Community Hospice of Jacksonville.

Hardage-Giddens, The Oaklawn Chapel, 4801 San Jose Boulevard had the honor of serving the family.

Brought to you by Hardage-Giddens Funeral Homes

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