Township of Irvington New Jersey

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POSTHUMOUS SALUTE: Street Naming Honors for an Essex County Trailblazer, Irvington Township Man of God

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By: Richard L. Smith

Irvington Township and residents from around Essex County came together to honor a remarkable community leader and man of God, Rev. Dr. Leroy Hodges Sr., founder and pastor of Strangers Home Church of God in Christ.

In a moving early afternoon posthumous tribute, Irvington Township Council President Jamillah Beasley and Councilwoman At-Large Dr. October Hudley unveiled a street recognition and salutation plaque at the corner of 18th Avenue and Eastern Parkway, officially naming it Rev Dr. Leroy Hodges Sr. Way.

The emotional but uplifting ceremony took place on Saturday, July 22, at 12:30 p.m. in the parking lot of the former Strangers Home Church of God in Christ.

Approximately 50 former church members, family, friends, and dignitaries from around Essex County and Irvington Township attended the outdoor event, streamed live on all social media platforms by RLS Media.

According to his family, we’ve learned that Dr. Leroy Hodges Sr. was born on July 22, 1935, in Belzoni, Mississippi, to the late Willie Hodges and Evelyn Hodges-Harris (nee Netter).

He was the sixth child born in his family and was preceded in death by several siblings, sons, and the mothers of his children.

From an early age, Leroy demonstrated fortitude and drive, working to assist his family and harboring a dream of becoming a business owner that he did. A trailblazer, to say the least.

After relocating to New Jersey for better opportunities, he worked in various fields, building his skills and determination. In 1979, he fulfilled his dream by founding Hodges Glass and Mirror Corporation in Newark.

He provided top-quality materials and service through his business, earning him a reputation for excellence in customer care.

As a faithful community servant, Dr. Leroy Hodges Sr. established successful businesses and advocated for other small business owners. He co-founded the Newark Coalition of Small Business Association, which succeeded in securing $12 million in federal funds for local businesses.

He also played a pivotal role in forming the Clinton Avenue Merchants Association of Newark.

Beyond his business endeavors, Dr. Hodges was deeply devoted to his church and congregation.

As the founder and pastor of Strangers Home Church of God in Christ, he touched countless lives, sharing his faith, wisdom, and compassion with his parishioners and the community.

“he loved his community, he loved his family and most importantly, our father loved and worshiped God”, family in attendance at the event told RLS Media.

Dr. Hodges’ dedication to education was unwavering, and he believed that every day presented opportunities to learn and grow.

Yes, he leaves behind a legacy of resilience, determination, and unwavering commitment to service, impacting the lives of many and leaving an indelible mark on the Newark and Irvington Township communities.

As the street bearing his name becomes a lasting tribute to his memory, the community will forever remember the man who dedicated his life to making a positive difference.

Dr. Leroy Hodges Sr.’s impact on the lives of those he touched will continue to inspire future generations to embrace the values of compassion, perseverance, and community service.

The ceremony served as a potent reminder that his legacy lives on, shaping a better future for Irvington Township and beyond.

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