Carl Freeman Hodge, 45, former boxer and BGE driver

July 24, 1998|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,SUN STAFF

Carl Freeman Hodge, a longtime driver for Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. and a former Golden Gloves boxing champion, died Monday in a truck accident on Interstate 795. He was 45.

Mr. Hodge, of Pikesville, had driven trucks for BGE since 1976 while maintaining his lifelong interest in sports, especially basketball.

In 1971, just after he had finished high school, Mr. Hodge began an amateur boxing career, training under legendary coach Mack Lewis and boxing out of Lewis' gym at Eager Street and Broadway.

He fought for only about three years, but won a district Golden Gloves title as a welterweight in 1973. That title earned Mr. Hodge a shot at the AAU Boxing Championship, where he scored a major opening round upset over a national Golden Gloves semifinalist.

"He was a good boxer, a good puncher," Mr. Lewis said. "He was a real nice guy and always trying hard. I loved him."

Among the opponents Mr. Hodge fought was Sugar Ray Leonard in a Glen Burnie bout before the eventual world champion turned professional.

"He beat Leonard but they [the judges] didn't give it to him," Mr. Lewis said. "Everyone knew he beat him but they didn't give it to him."

A Baltimore native, Mr. Hodge graduated in 1971 from Southern High School, where he played football and wrestled. He embarked on a brief amateur boxing career and later worked for a plumbing company before starting with BGE in 1976. His wife, Terry Hicks, whom he married in 1975, said Mr. Hodge gave up his boxing career for religious reasons when he became a Jehovah's Witness in 1973.

Mr. Hodge was a passenger in an 18-wheel tractor-trailer that overturned as it was about to enter northbound Interstate 795 from the inner loop of the Baltimore Beltway near Pikesville.

Mr. Hodge died at the scene. The 45-year-old driver was flown by MedEvac helicopter to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

Mr. Hodge enjoyed spending most of his time with his family.

Services are scheduled for 12: 30 p.m. today at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses, 4002 Ridgewood Ave. in West Baltimore.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by four sons, Ronald McDowell and Keith Hicks, both of Baltimore, and Corey Hodge and Jason Hodge, both of Pikesville; two daughters, Monica Coleman, of Baltimore, and Mersadie Hodge, of Pikesville; his mother, Edna Mae Carter, of Baltimore; two brothers, Jerrick G. Hodge, of Connecticut, and Reginald G. Hodge, of New Orleans; a sister, Patricia J. Carter, of Baltimore; and 12 grandchildren.

Pub Date: 7/24/98

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