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Hodge, Veda Wells (ca. 1903–1978)

Walter F. Pilcher Biography Entry

Veda Wells Hodge, philanthropist and committeewoman, was born about 1903 in Rising Star, Texas, the daughter of a pioneer Baptist minister. Mrs. Hodge attended the University of Colorado, Northwestern University, and Howard Payne University. She was married to Howard Hodge and was a business partner with him in various oil, theater, and cable TV ventures. She also taught school. She served at the local, state, and national level on many committees and was named one of the state's outstanding women by the Texas Historical Commission and Foundation. Locally, she was a trustee of the Midland Memorial Hospital, a director of the Salvation Army in Midland, a director of the Midland Symphony Board, and a member of the civic board of government. She was also president of the Midland College Foundation Board and an honorary member of the Epsilon Eta chapter of Delta Kappa. At the state level, she served on various committees under governors W. Lee O'Daniel, Preston Smith, Dolph Briscoe, and Allan Shivers. She was serving on the Texas Commission on the Arts and Humanities at the time of her death and was a former director of the Texas Safety Association. She also served the Texas Federation of Women's Clubs as president during the early 1950s. In that office she received a telegram from Senator Lyndon B. Johnson in 1951 about the war, the women's reaction to it, and what the women at home could do to support the men fighting in Korea. In 1954 she was appointed by Dwight D. Eisenhower to the planning committee for the women's division of the White House Conference on Highway Safety, thus involving her in the national level.

Veda Hodge made her greatest contributions, however, to her alma mater, Howard Payne University. She was appointed to the board of trustees in 1940 and remained on the board until her death, at which time she was serving as president of the board. As president, she was the first woman ever to head the board of an institution of higher learning owned and operated by the Baptist General Convention of Texas and was also the first woman to receive Howard Payne's ex-student of the year award. She was awarded an honorary doctorate at HPU in 1960, a feat which her husband accomplished fourteen years later. At Howard Payne a women's dorm is named for her. Veda Wells Hodge died on May 17, 1978, at Midland and was buried at Resthaven Memorial Park Cemetery.

Austin American, January 26, 1951. Fort Worth Star-Telegram, August 21, 1974, May 19, 1978. San Angelo Standard Times, June 18, 1978.


  • Education
  • Patrons, Collectors, and Philanthropists
  • Women
  • Women's Clubs

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

Walter F. Pilcher, “Hodge, Veda Wells,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 16, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

February 1, 1995

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: