Canon Hodgkinson suffered a heart attack and collapsed at St. Michael’s Cathedral, in Kelowna, B.C., on Nov. 27.
Canon Hodgkinson “combined a very good mind with a wry, self-deprecating wit, deep insight into human nature and patience with the foibles of persons less noble than himself,” said Canon Peter Davison, who knew him as a fellow priest and friend for more than 40 years.
Ordained as a priest in 1967, Canon Hodgkinson worked in Toronto from 1973 to 1979 after he was seconded from the diocese of Kootenay by Archbishop Ted Scott, then primate. Canon Hodgkinson served as a consultant in leadership development and training and later, became director of Resources for Ministry. He was widely known for his passion for the continuing education of clergy and for adult education and Bible study.
After returning to the diocese of Kootenay, Canon Hodgkinson took on the role of regional dean and then incumbent at St. George’s, Westbank. Although he officially retired in 2002, he still made himself available for ministry to parishes, including St. Michael & All Angels in Kelowna and St. Andrew’s, Okanagan Mission.
He was a sought-after speaker in church circles and his local community. A 2002 article from the Kootenay diocese newspaper, The HighWay, noted that at his retirement service, Canon Hodgkinson returned the symbols of his ministry, which had been given to him by the congregation at St. George’s church. These included newsprint and a felt pen, “which had become trademarks of his challenging educational sessions.”
In an obituary made available to the Journal, Kathryn Lockhart, archivist for the diocese of Kootenay, wrote that Canon Hodgkinson had once sent a letter to the diocese in which he noted that his ordination day, Feb. 26, fell on the feast of St. Matthias. St. Matthias was a saint who was “chosen late, mentioned once, never heard of again. My saint!” he said.
When his wife, Elizabeth, died last Feb. 22, Canon Hodgkinson sent an email to family and friends saying that she had decided “to go on to The Next Thing” after a “short, sharp but defiant struggle with cancer.” He also noted that she had “planned everything but the time” for her funeral.
Canon Hodgkinson delivered sermons that were “always stimulating and sometimes controversial,” and wrote film reviews for The Highway that “combined appreciation of the arts with theological reflection,” said Davison.
Before he became a priest, Canon Hodgkinson served as a social worker for the Manitoba government, a community development worker in Vancouver and part-time secretary for the student Christian movement at the University of British Columbia.
He had a life-long dream to become a pioneer in the Arctic, and spent one summer working at a mission in Eskimo Point, where he helped to build a church and studied the Inuit language, said Lockhart. Poor health prevented him from returning to Canada’s far north.
Friends and family also knew Canon Hodgkinson as a gourmet cook and a lover of fine wines, said Davison. “But above all, he was a faithful priest, good friend, and lover of family.”