Former Magistrate Hodge dies

Judge Richard Hodge

Judge Richard Hodge

ALBANY, Ga. -- A longtime federal magistrate based in Albany has died following a battle with cancer, officials say.

Richard L. Hodge was the face of the U.S. District Magistrate Court in Albany for nearly 20 years. Since the building opened in 2002, he presided over arraignments, federal misdemeanor and petty offenses and a plethora of civil cases in his courtroom in the C.B. King U.S. Courthouse.

According to his obituary, he died Wednesday morning after a lengthy fight with cancer.

Born August 24, 1946, Hodge graduated from Albany High School and went on to go to higher education at Albany Junior (Darton), Georgia Southwestern College and finally Mercer University, where he obtained his law degree.

A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Hodge served during the 1960s as a White House communications specialist. He was appointed the court's full-time federal magistrate on Oct. 10, 1990, and served until he retired for medical reasons on Oct. 31, 2009.

Federal magistrates are appointed by the U.S. District Court judges to eight-year terms. Albany attorney Tommy Langstaff was named in May to fill Hodges' seat.

Hodge is survived by his wife, Linda; his son, Matthew M. Fox, and three grandchildren.

While a private visitation has been set at Kimbrell Stern Funeral Directors on Friday, Hodge will be buried in a private service at Andersonville National Cemetery at a later date.