Berlyn E. Hodges Obituary
Berlyn Elbert Hodges, 90, passed away at home on March 15, 2022 surrounded by love. Berlyn was born on January 13, 1932 in Fernie, B. C., to Clinton and Miriam (Jacobs) Hodges and spent his early years in Stettler, Alta. In 1941, the family relocated to Victoria, B.C. where Berlyn graduated from Victoria High School in 1949.
Berlyn spent his entire life and career related to sports activities, in fact, he earned three championship rings in three different professional sports. He played hockey from an early age all through high school but his primary sport was baseball. A left-handed pitcher, he played for the Victoria Tyees, a minor league baseball team, then the Wenatchee Chiefs, a team in the Northwest League. He became known for his “sneaky fast-ball” and “effective curve ball”. He played for the Eugene Emeralds also in the Northwest League from 1954 to 1958. He won 59 games, more than any other Emerald in history to this day and recorded 514 strikeouts in 787 innings, another all-time team record. He was the League MVP in 1955. He doubled as a trainer and driver for the team to make extra money. During the off-season, he secured a position as a trainer for the Victoria Cougars of the Western Hockey League (WHL).
In 1960, Portland, OR was granted a hockey franchise in the WHL, The Portland Buckaroos. Berlyn had retired from baseball and was hired as their trainer and moved permanently to the US. He continued in that role until the 1971-72 season when he was named Vice President. He stepped in as interim coach for the 1972-73 season. The team won 3 Lester Patrick Cups during his tenure. In 1970, Portland was awarded an expansion franchise of the National Basketball Association, The Portland Trail Blazers. Berlyn became the assistant to President Harry Glickman and, in addition to his continuing duties with the Buckaroos, filled many roles in the front office such as travel coordinator, radio show producer, and sponsor procurement and ad salesman. In later years, he became Vice President of Marketing and finally Vice President of Tickets and Customer Service of the Trail Blazers and Rose Garden (now Moda Center), retiring after 29 years in 1998.
In 1986, Berlyn married Charlene Wirkkala, a CPA who also worked at the Trail Blazers as the Vice President of Finance. Berlyn and Charlene moved to Marana, AZ in 1999 to The Highlands at Dove Mountain, an active adult retirement community on a top-rated golf course just north of Tucson. He excelled at golf for most of his adult life and had the distinction of “shooting his age” 389 times before a racquetball injury forced him to put away his clubs at age 79.
He was a devout member of Our Lady of the Desert Catholic Church, before his health declined. He is survived by his devoted wife, Charlene, brother Lowell (Ann) of Courtenay, BC, daughters Daina, Missoula, MT and Leslie (Brian Grubb) of Portland and two grandchildren, Brianna and Kaeden Grubb of Portland.
A memorial service will be held April 22, 2022 at 2:00pm in the ballroom at the Highlands Golf and Country Club at 4949 W Heritage Club, Blvd., Marana, AZ 85658.