Floral 11

Takako "Debbie" Hodges

December 18, 1931 ~ August 17, 2023 (age 91) 91 Years Old


Takako Kawase Hodges, a/k/a “Debbie”, age 91, of Hilton Head Island, SC, passed away on August 17, 2023.  She was born on December 18, 1931 in Tokyo, Japan to her parents, Suezo Kawase and Hisako Higuchi Kawase. She was their first born child.

Her father manufactured leather goods in Tokyo and moved the family to Shanghai, China, to start another company there when she was 7 years old.  After World War II, her family moved to Nagoya, Japan, where her father died of tuberculosis when she was 14 years old.  She quit school to help her mother take care of her 5 siblings.  At 17, she went to work at the first G.I. Mess Hall where she met her husband to be, Allen Nelson Hodges (USAF).  They married in Nagoya on March 15, 1952 when she was 21, and, shortly after, moved to our father’s hometown in Tillman, SC.

Our mother’s life story is one to be told of a foreigner who spoke no English moving to the U.S. where, after the war, it was taboo for a Japanese woman to marry an American, both in her Country and the U.S.  Through her perseverance and strong will, she conquered many obstacles and is a woman truly to be admired and commended for all that she accomplished in her lifetime.

She was primarily a barber, having worked with our father in his barber shop known as “Nelson’s Barber Shop”, both in Ridgeland and Hilton Head.  After our father’s death, she sold Nelson’s Barber Shop, and opened another barber shop with Margie Comer known as North Island Barbers on Hilton Head. There she worked until 2017 when she retired at the age of 85.

Left to cherish her memory are her 3 children, Kay Malphrus, Troy Hodges (Sherry), Gerald Hodges (Kelly), 3 grandchildren, Cory Malphrus (Judith), Jenifer Hodges (Jimmy), Eric Hodges (Esther), 1 great grandson, Hunter Malphrus, her sisters, Chieko Kawase, Hiroyo Suzuki, her brothers, Yasuhiro Kawase, Harunori Kawase, and many nieces and nephews. She is predeceased by her parents, her husband, her son-in-law, Gen Malphrus, and her sister, Masayo Kimura.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Compassus for the hospice care given to our mother.

She will be  laid to rest at Sardis Cemetery in Ridgeland, SC. 

A private celebration of her life will be held among the family at a later date.

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Private Celebration of Life


Sardis Cemetery
State Rd. S-27 149
Ridgeland, SC 29936


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