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About William Sterling Hodges
William Sterling Hodges Sr
William Hodges, 36, had been in the employment of the Baldwin Locomotive Works, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for 16 years at the time of his death. He first worked as a draftsman, then in sales, finally becoming a mechanical engineer. He had represented his company in China and Russia. In community life, he had been the organist at Harper Memorial Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. Hodges had been appointed manager of his company's Paris offices, in which capacity he made at least two transatlantic crossings, the second of which was on the Lusitania's final completed voyage. He was in Paris to take charge of the Baldwin office to sell locomotives to the French government and to supervise the assembling of engines sent to France in pieces. The day before he sailed, with his wife, Sara (Sarah?), and two sons, William Sterling and Dean Winston, on what proved to be the fatal voyage, he signed a new will appointing Sara his heir. The will also contained the ominous note that should they "all die simultaneously or on or about the same time" his estate (consisting principally of an $11,000 insurance policy) would go entirely to his mother. One account of the sinking briefly mentions and encounter between the author and the Hodges family in the crowd climbing the stairs to the boat deck. Another states Mr. Hodges was later seen exiting his portside A Deck cabin with lifebelts in his arms. There were photographs of Mr. Hodges and sons, Dean and William, in The New York Times, Sunday, May 8, 1915, page 3. The Monday, May 17, issue of The New York Times, page 1, said that Dean's body had been recovered and identified. Sarah's body was #209, interred in Common grave B.