Longtime performance-boat enthusiast and beloved member of the New Jersey Performance Powerboat Club Peter Hodge died Saturday, April 5, reportedly from complications due to a blood disease, at his home in Princeton, N.J. Hodge was 77 years old. He is survived by wife, Leona, of 40 years.
Known for authenticity and generosity among NJPPC members, Peter Hodge loved running his Formula sportboat in club events. Photos courtesy/copyright Tim Sharkey/Sharkey Images.
While Hodge made a living as a licensed funeral director with his own funeral home businesses, his passion was high-performance powerboating. Not only was he a regular in his Formula Boats V-bottom sportboat at NJPPC events, he was a steadfast and generous supporter of Shore Dreams for Kids, the annual July event in Seaside Heights, N.J., that provides a day of boat rides, carnival fun and food for mentally challenged children and adults, as well as their families.
“Peter was an amazing gentleman and one of the most kind and sincere people I have ever had the opportunity to know,” said Dave Patnaude, the president of the NJPPC. “When he said hello and shook your hand and then asked how you were doing, he would look into your eyes while holding your hand and wait for the answer because he genuinely cared. He will be deeply missed.”
Fellow longtime NJPPC member Bob Christie echoed Patnaude’s sentiments in a Facebook post. “Kind and sincere are great words to describe Peter, but they do not do him justice,” he wrote. “Every time you would see Peter he would greet you with kind words. He was always so happy to see friends and you felt his sincerity in every word he spoke.”
Hodge’s seemingly endless generosity was well-known throughout the club. Members Brian and Michele Meade saw it firsthand when their son was born with a tumor that eventually was diagnosed as benign after surgery. During the drivers meeting at the Lobster Shanty restaurant before the annual Atlantic City Poker Run in 2006, the Hodges and the Meades ran into one another on the docks. Peter Hodge pulled Brian Meade aside and asked him if he could afford his son’s treatment.
“Peter put his hand on my shoulder, looked me deeper in the eye and said, ‘You make sure that you get William whatever treatment he needs,'” Meade recalled. “He said, ‘If you need money to pay for it, you call me. I will pay for it; whatever it is. Don’t worry about whether or not you could pay it back, or how or when you would pay it back. There will be plenty of time to figure that out. The important thing is that you get William whatever care he needs to get him healthy regardless of the cost. If you need money to pay for it, you call me.’
“Fortunately, I never had to make that call, but the fact that he cared so much to make that generous offer meant the world to me,” he added. “It was genuine—and it was the essence of Peter Hodge, the person.”