My deepest and most sincere sympathy to all of John's family and friends during this difficult time. Most of you don't know me but I did have the pleasure of meeting John's son, John Jr. and also his good friend, Corbie. My name is Lori and I met John a couple years ago and I considered John to be one of my good friends. I feel obligated to let your family know just how very close John felt to all of you in his family. Over and over he told me how much he loved his family, especially Haylee and John Jr. He had immense love for all of you ...his siblings, his nieces and nephews, aunt's and uncles and cousins too. He said you all had each other's backs and your family ties were strong. He described his childhood as being what it should be for a child....happy, carefree, safe and loved. He told me many times how his parents were always there for him, no matter what and he shared with me that he loved them for all the things they taught him and helped him learn. He admired the strength of his parents marriage and said what good role models they we're for not only him, but for all the children in the family. It was touching to find out the magnitude of love he had for his Dad and he told me over and over his Dad was his very best friend. I found it refreshing to hear all the positive memories he held dear to his heart as my family was quite the opposite from what he described his and I could tell through his words, actions, and eyes that he loved each and every one of you. To hear of his passing was shocking to me as I'm sure it all has been for you and I'm grieving along with you and am asking some of the same questions as to why. Through our visits and phone calls and letters we developed a relationship that I considered close and my heart is broken knowing he won't be in my life anymore to talk to, share things with and laugh....he was the bright spot in my days with his sharp, witty humor and I'll miss the long conversations we had about our lives, the giggles from his humor, and the pictures of him and his new buddy, Apollo....nothing more adorable than to see big John with that little tiny puppy wrapped around his finger.
This past year threw some challenges to him but he hung in there knowing his family supported and loved him. Even though he made some mistakes he was comforted that his family would not forsake him and I think that reassurance is what got him through some doubtful times. John taught me so much in the short time me we knew each other and I felt it was important to let you know how he felt from my perspective and maybe knowing that he was proud to be a Hoden might help begin to heal your aching hearts. He was an incredible human being and I feel privileged to have known him and of course wish he could have been here longer to share his life with us. To Haylee and little John, all I can say is you were loved...loved in a way only your father could love you. You both meant the world to him and I know he didn't mean to leave you and you will be ok...we all will. We'll be ok but we'll be different and yet we'll all be the same because we knew him and we we're truly, truly blessed. For John's family and friends I pray and have asked God to bless you with courage to bear the sorrow you feel. There are caring, kind thoughts all around you now and more importantly, there are cherished memories within you. With so much love, peace and comfort will surely come. To Mr. And Mrs. Hoden...thank you. Thank you for raising such a good soul. You did good and you should feel proud knowing that whoever knew him....loved him. I'll ask God to take extra special care of you during this heartbreaking time and give you all you need for rest, healing and peace. As for me, I am grateful for the gift of knowing John and I know I'll miss him very much. I already do. With sincere sympathy, Lori Lewis, friend of John's.
Sunday, April 14, 2019