WILLIS D. HODSON
CAMDEN…………….Willis “Bill” D. Hodson, 92, passed away on Sunday, February 3, 2019, at Bella Point in Camden. Born in Camden on March 12, 1926, he was the son of G. Willis and Vera (Wilbur) Hodson. A member of the Class of 1944 at Camden High School, Bill then enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps, where he was stationed in England with the 8th Army Air Corps under General Curtis LeMay, who was known for his development of advanced bomber tactics. A B-17 bomber pilot at age 19, Lt. Hodson flew many missions surviving three crashes in Europe. Most of the missions were over the fjords of Norway flying in search of submarine pens. In 1946, Bill was discharged from active military service and continued in the Air Force reserves until 1952.
On May 16, 1948, Bill married Jean Smith in Camden and attended the University of Maine at Orono. While working at Shell Elm’s, a garage in Camden owned by his father, Bill was offered a position at Ford Motor Company in Detroit, Michigan after successfully completing repairs on a vehicle owned by a Ford vice president.
Bill and Jean moved to Dearborn, Michigan and he went to work at Ford as an engineer. Bill received degrees in both engineering and law at the University of Michigan. As the personal troubleshooter for Henry Ford II and later Lee Iococca, Bill travelled throughout the United States and abroad. In 1955, the Ford Thunderbird was introduced which had been test driven by Hodson. In addition, Bill had been instrumental in the developmental planning of the Ford Mustang which was introduced in 1964.
Bill continued working in the automobile industry after leaving Ford, including a consulting position for the U.S. Government in Washington, D.C., where he helped write the Chilton Book on Clean Air Emissions for the National Auto Safety Department in 1976. His other employment included Clayton Manufacturing Company in Los Angeles and Massachusetts, and Bricklin Vehicle Corporation. In Washington, DC, Bill worked as a consultant for the U.S. Senate and the U.S. Department of Transportation. Bill also served as Code Enforcement Officer for the Town of Camden from 1985 to 1990.
His hobbies included hunting, fishing, woodworking, and spending time at their family camp on Norton’s Pond in Lincolnville. He especially enjoyed the family fishing trips to Nicatous Lake.
Predeceased by his wife of 67 years, Jean Smith Hodson and their beloved dog, Misty, he is survived by his children, Debra Hodson Rolland of Windham, NH; Kimberly Hodson of Hiram; Douglas S. Hodson of Boca Raton, FL; and Richard Hodson of Rockland; five grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren; and brother-in-law, David C. Smith and his wife, Vicky, of Hope.
A graveside service will be held in the spring. If desired, memorial gifts may be made to PAWS, P.O. 707, Rockport, ME 04856. Condolence and memories may be shared with the family at www.longfuneralhomecamden.com. Arrangements are with the Long Funeral Home & Cremation Service, 9 Mountain Street, Camden.