Justice Ralph B. Hodges

Justice Ralph B. Hodges was born in Anadarko, Oklahoma on August 4, 1930. He was the quarterback of the Anadarko High School football team. After graduation in 1948, he attended Oklahoma Baptist University where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1952, and later received his law degree from the University of Oklahoma. After completing law school, Justice Hodges began practicing law in Durant, Oklahoma. He was elected Bryan County Attorney, and occupied that post for two years. He was elected District Judge in 1958 and sat on the bench for six and a half years in office before being appointed to the Oklahoma Supreme Court by Governor Henry Bellmon on April 19, 1965 to fill an unexpired term. At thirty four, he was the youngest person to serve on the Court since statehood, a remarkable achievement. He served two terms as Chief Justice from 1977-1978 and 1993-1994, after which he retired from the Court. In 1977, Justice Hodges was named Outstanding State Appellate Jurist by The Association of Trial Lawyers of America. He also served on the Board of Trustees for Oklahoma Baptist University from 1968 until 1971. Justice Hodges was active in Putnam City Baptist Church and the First Baptist Church of Durant, Oklahoma, where he was chairman of Board of Deacons from 1964-65. He is a 33rd degree Scottish Rite Mason, as well as a former president of the Durant Kiwanis Club and the Durant Junior Chamber of Commerce. Potential opponents should beware: he also plays an expert game of bridge. Justice Hodges was not only an outstanding jurist, he was an excellent mentor. In 1972, he asked Justice Yvonne Kauger to be the first woman staff lawyer. Following he appointment to the Supreme Court, two other of his staff lawyers, Judge Glen Adams and Judge Debbie Barnes, were appointed to appellate courts.