Holiday pies are her specialty

By BOB JOHNSON
Register City Editor

Register/Bob Johnson
Dorthy Hodo bakes pies for many area folks during the holiday season.

LaHARPE — During World War II when most teenage girls were learning to sew and navigate through a kitchen, Dorthy Hodo was harnessing horses and cutting cattle.
“I didn’t know how to sew or cook when I got married,” said Hodo, who celebrates her 79th birthday today.
Soon, with five children and a husband in the military, Hodo learned the intricacies of domestic arts and today supplements her retirement by doing alterations and — during the holiday season — making pies she sells for $10 each.
“I have to admit that I make crusts ahead of time and put them in the freezer, but all of the pies, fruit or meringue (guaranteed not to weep), are made either the day before or the day they’re picked up,” Hodo said. “I also make sugar-free pies for people who need them.”
Hodo has been hawking pies the past five holiday seasons, a project she adopted after her husband, Gene, died six-and-a-half years ago. Most Thanksgivings she sell about 20 pies. Pumpkin and apple are most popular. She’ll make any variety, including rhubarb.
Last year, she faced a problem that modern technology helped her overcome.
“I had 12 orders to fill when my oven quit,” Hodo said. “So, I baked them in my microwave and they all came out fine, although the meringues weren’t as brown as usual.”

HODO learned the skills of a ranch hand on her family’s two-section spread north of North Platte, Neb.
“During the war there weren’t any good hired men to be had, so I helped with the ranch chores,” Hodo said. “I did everything that men would have done.”
After high school, she moved to Enid, Okla., to attend Phillips University, a Christian-oriented school. She took a liking to a boy from Texas who came to Phillips to study to be a minister, but when he asked her to marry, Hodo wasn’t quite ready.
“He joined the Navy and a little later the Lord changed my mind and I decided to accept the proposal,” she said. They were married Dec. 29, 1951.
After four years in the Navy, Gene Hodo joined the Air Force and he, his wife and children spent 20 years in the service, including two tours in Germany, time in Guam and Hawaii and at several locations in the United States.
“We moved a lot while in the service,” Hodo said. “It was something we became accustomed to. Altogether were moved 34 times.”
After his discharge in 1974, the Hodos were driving through Iola going from her parents’ home in Nebraska to his sister’s in Enid.
“It was a nice town, about halfway between the two places and we thought we’d like to settle down there,” she said.
In 1998, they made an offer on a home in Iola, but lost out to a higher bidder. Then, “we were driving around in LaHarpe and found this place,” she said of the home they moved to.
Three of her five children, including Andrew Hodo in LaHarpe, live within easy driving distance and she has busied herself with keeping track of 10 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren, in addition to meeting alteration and pie-baking demands. All of which, Hodo allows, is good for her well-being, physical and mental.
The sewing and baking businesses also have added to her circle of acquaintances.
“I’ve met some interesting people that I otherwise wouldn’t have,” she said.
Orders for Thanksgiving and Christmas pies may be made by calling Hodo at 620-496-2664.