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Thursday, 3-Nov-2005 00:00
Sgt. Michael Paul Hodshire

Michael Hodshire laid to rest with military honors

Art Bukowski, Staff Writer
Nikki Sattler-Case, Staff Writer

In a gymnasium packed with hundreds of friends, relatives and servicemen, Hillsdale County Undersheriff Jeremiah Hodshire remembered his nephew.

“Michael was a rugged young man, full of enthusiasm...and guided by the golden rule,” he said, speaking of Marine Sgt. Michael Hodshire, who died in Iraq Oct. 30. “He could put a smile on the sternest faces.”

Hodshire, 25, was Hillsdale County’s first serviceman killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom. At his funeral Thursday in the gym of North Adams–Jerome High School, every full–time staffer of the Hillsdale County Sheriff’s Depart–ment as well as representatives from the Michigan State Police and other law enforcement agencies were present.

When state Rep. Bruce Caswell spoke of Hodshire, his speech shared a common thread with the ministers, former teachers and others that spoke of him — his sacrifice was for each of us.

“The words I speak cannot compare to the sacrifice of Michael,” he said, in a talk that implored others to serve their community and country. “I submit to you today that as Michael Hodshire has died for our freedom, it is incumbent upon us to live to make men free...we must honor Michael by living the words duty, honor and country every day.”

Thursday was the 230th birthday of the United States Marine Corps, and as Ken Kurtz of Kurtz Funeral Homes pointed out, it seemed appropriate.

“It is fitting to say that Sgt. Hodshire was a proud Marine,” he said.

During the funeral procession to Northlawn Cemetery, about 100 people of all ages lined the streets bearing American flags.

Toddlers waved flags, women wiped away tears and men held their hats over their hearts as a procession of police, family and friends escorted a hearse carrying Hodshire to his final rest. A boy leaned out of one limo carrying the family, an American flag gripped tightly in his hand. Others in the procession acknowledged those gathered with solemn nods and raised hands.

North Adams resident Sharon Titus wiped away tears as the procession rolled by. She said she came out “just to be patriotic I guess. We’re just very thankful that there are soldiers willing to die for our freedom.”

Earl Rockey of Jonesville was also on hand. “I read about this in the paper and made the decision that I’d be here for it,” Rockey said.

Hodshire received full military honors at Northlawn.

Those interested in contributing in his memory can make donations to the Sgt. Michael P. Hodshire Memorial Education Fund at the Hillsdale County Community Foundation

Pete Mowry / DAILY NEWS Marines salute the memory of Michael Hodshire with rifles during Thursday's service in North Adams. #1

Pete Mowry / DAILY NEWS Marines carry the casket of Michael Hodshire through the graveyard on Thursday afternoon. The service drew a large number of family, friends, and community members. #2

Pete Mowry / DAILY NEWS Marines escort the casket of Michael Hodshire from the gymnasium at the end of Thursday's memorial service at North Adams-Jerome School. #3

Pete Mowry / DAILY NEWS J.J. Hodshire says some words about his nephew and religion as he speaks during Thursday afternoon's service for Michael Hodshire. #4

Pete Mowry / DAILY NEWS The gymnasium of North Adams-Jerome School is packed on Thursday afternoon, to honor the memory of Michael Hodshire. #5

Pete Mowry / DAILY NEWS The Rev. Clyde Wonders says a brief prayer as he honors the memory of Michael Hodshire during Thursday's service at North Adams-Jerome School. #6

Mark Rogers/DAILY NEWS Residents of North Adams, and people from all around Hillsdale Countyshow their respects to Sgt. Michael P. Hodshire as his funeral procession passes on the way to Northlawn Cemetery. #7


Michigan Marine, 25, killed in Iraq
Second soldier dies of noncombat cause
October 31, 2005


Marine Sgt. Michael Paul Hodshire, 25, of North Adams always dreamed of joining the Marine Corps.

Army Staff Sgt. Lewis J. Gentry, 48, was a career soldier from Detroit.

Both men died while serving in Iraq within the last five days. They are the 65th and 66th members of the U.S. armed forces with known Michigan ties to die in Iraq.

News of Hodshire's death came Sunday, devastating the small town in Hillsdale County.

"We're a small, rural community here," said Kenneth Kurtz, a family friend. "He had a lot of friends here."

Hodshire, a father of two, was three months into his second tour of duty in Iraq with the 2nd Marine Division when he was killed Sunday morning by indirect gunfire near Fallujah, Kurtz said.

Serving in the Marines fulfilled a lifelong dream for Hodshire, he said.

"That's been a passion of his from his school days," he said. "He wanted to be a Marine."

Four days after Hodshire graduated from North Adams-Jerome High School in 1999, he went to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego for basic training. He spent the next six years on active duty.

Carl Christenson, principal of the North Adams-Jerome Public Schools' junior and senior high schools, said Sunday night that students will be upset by the news.

"It's a small district. Obviously, it will have an impact," said Christenson. The district includes a total of 550 students.

Christenson said he met Hodshire last summer during a Little League baseball game. Christenson's 11-year-old son and Hodshire's younger brother play on a local team together, he said.

A man who answered the phone at the Hodshire residence in North Adams on Sunday night declined to comment.

A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Defense could not confirm on Sunday that Hodshire had been killed.

The Defense Department announced Sunday that Gentry had died Wednesday in Mosul from a noncombat-related cause.

Gentry had been assigned to the Army's 94th Engineer Battalion in Vilseck, Germany.

Vianne Gentry, 64, remembers the day when her little brother enlisted in the Army. It was Nov. 26, 1986.

"He was my baby brother, that's why I remember the date," she said Sunday night from her Detroit home. "He was a really good guy."

Vianne Gentry's son, VonEric Gentry, had already enlisted in the military. He encouraged his uncle to join.

"He really wasn't doing that much at the time," said VonEric Gentry, 45, of Detroit. "I wanted him to go into the military. I told him it would give him a good start. Get a career and training."

Lewis Gentry enlisted and served in a transportation unit. That took him to the Middle East during the Persian Gulf War and into Somalia. He was assigned to a transportation unit in Germany most recently, but VonEric Gentry wasn't sure what his uncle was doing in Mosul last week.

Lewis Gentry hadn't been back to Detroit since Christmas. He leaves behind a wife and several children.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete Sunday night for both men. A memorial fund is being established to benefit Hodshire's children. He is also survived by his parents, a brother and three sisters.

Contact DAN CORTEZ at 586-469-1827 or cortez@freepress.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report

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