In memory of those who have Crossed the Bar
HODGSON, Michael - passed away peacefully December 25, 2022 at Collingwood General and Marine Hospital. Born June 28, 1938 to James Stanley Farrer Hodgson and Georgina (Bunny) Ellen Hodgson (nee Horne) in Carlisle, England, Michael emigrated to Canada with his family landing in the city of Quebec on August 6, 1951; settling in Mimico, Ontario where he would graduate high school in 1955.
He studied to be an accountant, given his mind’s exceptional math skills, however his heart had a different idea being made of oak from birth. C.S. Forester’s Hornblower book series set his destiny to the sea and the Navy. He was accepted to the Royal Canadian Navy Officer Training Program in 1956, setting out for Royal Roads Naval College in Victoria, British Columbia and called to the fleet soon after.
His career spanned 42 years, including six NATO tours, surviving a helicopter crash into the North Sea and being part of Canada’s heightened response to the Cuban Missile crisis - which saw his ship fire star shells over Soviet vessels in the North Atlantic as an act of deterrence. He was also an advisor to the Commander of the Canadian Task Group during Operation Desert Storm.
Two of Michael’s most memorable postings were as stage manager for The Centennial Military’s Tattoo cross Canada tour, including the World Expo in Montreal in 1967, and then as Navigating Officer of the test crew for Canada’s only hydrofoil, HMCS Bras d’Or, in 1969, which he described as “flying on the water”. At the time it was the world’s fastest warship.
His fondest time in the service was in support of Canada’s Naval Reserve, which he performed as a pioneer in implementing the very first Naval Reserve dedicated missions: Coastal Defence, Mine Warfare and Naval Control of Shipping and as the Commanding Officer of several HMC Ships. Michael was ever-present at Maritime Command (Royal Canadian Navy Headquarters) HMCS SCOTIAN and on the waterfront. Framing the future of the Naval Reserve through his brilliant staff work and as a dedicated seagoing Commanding Officer, training literally hundreds of young officers and crews for real-time maritime missions in the defence of Canada. In particular, he took great pride in mentoring and supporting the careers of countless officers over the years, many of whom would go on to command their own ships and reach the rank of Flag Officer. He was especially proud of his role in helping to integrate women into the Navy and breaking down barriers.
Gentleman. Mentor. Kind and caring leader. Teacher. Gifted story and joke teller. These are the ways he was described by those who served with him. A dedicated officer, whose duty, staff and crew were paramount to him. The ocean ran in his veins. His sons were particularly thankful for his naval career, as the trouble they got into was nothing compared to the entertainment the crew of a destroyer could provide.
Retiring from his Naval career in 1998, Michael’s service to his fellow citizens continued as a Justice of the Peace in Nova Scotia. He delighted in helping people take steps towards their future, marrying hundreds of couples. He was particularly thrilled to be able to marry a niece, a nephew and two of his grandchildren.
He volunteered for many charities and causes over the years, including Alzheimer Society of Canada, Diabetes Canada, Izaak Walton Children’s Hospital and The Gilbert and Sullivan Society.
Moving to Collingwood to be closer to his family in 2017, he took up residence at Raglan Village where he fast became a fixture, card shark, pool player and resident comedian. He loved bridge, crib, model trains, classical music and most of all his family.
He was a dedicated and devoted husband, having celebrated over 50 years of marriage to Sarah Hodgson (nee Peters), who predeceased him. He is survived by his sons, Peter Hodgson (Juanita), Robin Hodgson, grandchildren Isabeau (Michael), Jared (Carli) and Keenan (Julie), and two great grandchildren Aubrey (Isabeau & Michael) and Ezra (Jared & Carli).
He will be sorely missed, always remembered as his Heart of Oak overflowed and filled so many others. He heads to his final posting always, “Ready, Aye, Ready.”
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Canadian Naval Memorial Trust and HMCS Sackville CNMT Donations, Diabetes Canada Diabetes Canada Donations, or Wounded Warriors Canada Wounded Warriors Donations
Visitation will be held at Fawcett Funeral Home – Collingwood Chapel on Tuesday January 3, 2023 from 4-6 p.m. As per Michael’s wishes and in keeping with a time-honoured naval tradition, his ashes will be committed to the sea at a later date. (Fawcett Funeral Home)
Ships served in:
HMCS BRAS D'OR - Served in BRAS D'OR in 1969 as NavO for the test crew