James Eli Hodges, age 81, native and lifelong resident of Bulloch County, died on April 26, 2023, at
Ogeechee Area Hospice Inpatient Facility surrounded by his loving family. Jimmy was a 1959 graduate of
Statesboro High School where he was class president. He continued his studies at the University of
Georgia where he was an honor graduate. He was also a member and officer of Sigma Chi Fraternity and
a member of Phi Kappa Phi and Beta Gamma Sigma. Jimmy was a graduate of the Graduate School of
Banking at Louisiana State University. He was well known for his leadership and involvement in many
worthwhile causes of the community. He served as Chair for Statesboro-Bulloch County Chamber of
Commerce , the Georgia Southern University Foundation, Bulloch Academy, Forest Heights Country Club
and President of Statesboro Rotary Club. He led fund drives for the American Red Cross and the
American Heart Association. Jimmy attended Statesboro First United Method Church where he was an
active member, serving on the Official Board and Finance Committee. He was a state director of the
YMCA of Georgia and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and was active with the Statesboro High
School Athletic Boosters. Jimmy was a member of the GSU College of Business Administration advisory
board, Southern Boosters, and Ogeechee Technical College Board of Trustees. Jimmy was a long-term
member of the Development Authority of Bulloch County and served as a director and vice president of
the Averitt Foundation for the Arts. His business savvy earned him the honor of Business Leader of the
Year in the early 1990’s. Jimmy started his very successful career in banking in 1974 with First Bulloch
Bank and Trust , serving as CEO and President, later forming the First Banking Company of Southeast
Georgia. After merging with Branch Bank & Trust , he became its City President and Senior Vice
President before retiring in 2008. Jimmy served as Chairman of the Georgia Bankers Association and
chaired the Community Bankers Council of the American Bankers Association. Jimmy was a Dean Day
Smith Award Service to Mankind recipient and also a Dean Day Smith Lifetime Achievement Award
Jimmy was preceded in death by his wife of 43 years, Sue Stabler Hodges; his parents, Helen Lanier and
Eli Hodges ; his brother, Phillip Madison Hodges; his sister, Mary Ann Hodges Green; his sister- in- law ,
Carolyn Blackburn Hodges.
He is survived by his daughter, Sally (Ray) McKinney; his grandchildren, Ray Lynes McKinney III, Lauren
Hodges McKinney and James Eli McKinney; his very special friend and beloved companion, Connie G.
Averitt all of Statesboro, GA; his brother, Ray Lanier Hodges of Oldsmar, FL; his sister-in-law, Buford
Brannen of Register, GA; his brothers in law, Jerry (Phyllis) Stabler of Amelia Island and Jay (Bonnie)
Stabler of Mount Pleasant, SC. The family would like to extend a special thanks to Dr. Saraju Dalsania
for his wonderful care for many years and especially over the last few weeks ; his care givers and dear
friends, Brenda Strowbridge, Peaches Johnson, Tissy Dekle and their amazing team.
Visitation will be held Friday April 28, 2023, from 10:00 until 11:30am at the Statesboro First United
Funeral Services will be held Friday April 28,2023, at 11:30am at Statesboro First United Methodist
Church with Rev. Jimmy Cason officiating.
Interment will follow in Eastside Cemetery.
Active pallbearers will be Edmund Brannen, John Emery Brannen, Jay Cook, Jim Davis, Bill Hatcher, Butch
Lane, John Lane and Clifford Johnson.
Honorary pallbearers will be members of Statesboro High School Class of 1959 and brothers of the
Statesboro Sigma Chi Alumni Association.
In lieu of flowers contributions can be made to Ogeechee Area Hospice 200 Donahoo Street Statesboro,
GA 30458 and the Medical University of South Carolina Transplant Surgery 96 Jonathon Lucas St.,
Charleston, SC 29425.
Deal Funeral Directors of Statesboro is in charge of the arrangements.