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HODGES, GUS MACEY, JR.

HODGES, GUS MACEY, JR. (1908–1992). Gus Macey Hodges, Jr., lawyer and professor of law, was born in Alba, Texas, on February 12, 1908, the son of Gus Macey and Carrie (Burns) Hodges. He grew up in Greenville, where he completed his elementary and high school education in the public schools. He attended the University of Texas, where he received his B.B.A. in 1930 and his LL.B. from the law school in 1932. While in law school, he was a member of the scholastic fraternity, Phi Delta Phi, as well as a member of Chancellors, Order of the Coif, and the Texas Law Review. Upon his graduation from law school, he practiced personal injury litigation in Dallas for eight years with Robertson, Leachman, Payne, Gardere, and Lancaster. In 1940 Hodges returned to the University of Texas Law School as a professor of law. He remained as a teacher and mentor to generations of students until his retirement in 1976. Throughout his teaching career, Hodges maintained a strong interest in court procedure. He became a recognized authority on Texas court procedure with the publication of one of the most widely used books ever written on procedure, Special Issues Submission in Texas (1969). Consequently, Hodges developed a statewide reputation as one of the most knowledgeable men in the state on Texas procedure. In addition, he authored Cases on Trial and Appeal (1972) and Cases on Procedure before Trial (1977). While at the University of Texas, Hodges received numerous awards and recognitions, including outstanding teacher and outstanding alumnus. From 1965 to 1966 he held the Hines and Thelma Baker Chair in Law. From 1967 to 1970 he was the Albert Sidney Burleson Professor of Law. In 1971 he became the Baker and Botts Professor of Law, a position he held until his retirement. In 1975 the law school student body elected Hodges the "Sexiest Professor" in the law school. The university named him "professor emeritus" in 1978, and in 1984 the law school established the Gus M. Hodges Regents Research Professorship of Law. In addition, Hodges served the State of Texas as a commissioner on Uniform State Laws and as an active member of the Advisory Committee on Rules of Procedure for the Supreme Court of Texas.

Hodges was recognized as a master of introducing law students to the legal process and the intricacies of civil procedure. His trademarks included his bushy, red handlebar mustache, which he twirled while lecturing, and his habit of "'scusing" students who came unprepared for class. Hodges would often select a student at random to recite the facts of a case. If the student was not prepared, Hodges would say, "Thank you, sir. You're excused." Thus, the unprepared student was finished with class for the day. Although Hodges maintained exacting standards for his students, he was a nonconformist. He rolled his own cigarettes and favored red socks and polka-dot bow ties. His daughter, Elizabeth Macey Hodges Reasoner, said, "He never conformed to any expectations of what a gray lawyer ought to look like." Hodges was a thorough and demanding professor, a true scholar of the law and civil procedure, as well as a popular favorite among his students. His daughter said, "Although he wrote and was a theoretician, his main interest in life was teaching. He always felt he learned as much from his students as he taught them." In 1939 Hodges married Elizabeth Brown, and they had a daughter and a son. Hodges was an active Episcopalian and a Democrat. He died at his home in Austin on February 7, 1992, and was buried at Austin in the State Cemetery.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Austin American-Statesman, February 8, 1992. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Emily Werlein

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Emily Werlein, "HODGES, GUS MACEY, JR.," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fhomj), accessed August 02, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.