Late Washington Mayor Mac “Bear” Hodges honored with bear statue at his park

Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 10:40 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON, N.C. (WITN) -The legacy of Mac “Bear” Hodges has lived on since his death three years ago, but the late Washington Mayor is now surely cemented forever, thanks to a fitting statue to honor him.

“Mac had a lot of visions,” said Lou Hodges, Mac “Bear” Hodges’ widow. “His visions are continuing, people continue to love him and want to continue his legacy.

Hodges was beloved in Washington, especially during his time as mayor from 2013 until 2020 when he passed away from COVID-19.

Current Mayor Donald Sadler, who is Hodges’ successor, says the former mayor’s death hurt because they’d built a friendship.

“We worked closely together on economic development opportunities to help move the city forward,” Sadler said. “We had a great relationship.”

Nicknames are oftentimes hit or miss, but Lou Hodges says the name bear stuck for some reason.

“His football coach saw him running down the field and he looks like a bear,” Hodges said. “We wanted to represent Mac so the bear was perfect.”

“Mac was kind of a healthy built guy,” Sadler said. “Very friendly and loveable like a teddy bear.”

The Mac “Bear” Hodges Festival Park was already significant, but the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce took it a step further by raising money to put the statue at the park.

Lou Hodges says her husband’s presence was certainly felt Wednesday, despite the rainy ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“He was definitely here in spirit,” Hodges said. “That might’ve been some tears of his for not being here.”

The second annual Mac “Bear” Hodges Festival is on October 8th. Funds from it will go towards the Mac Hodges Memorial Fund.

The family of Hodges says a dance floor and other improvements will also soon be coming to the park.