Hugh G. "Grant" Stoddard, Class of 1943
(07/31/1922 – 02/26/2017)
Hugh Grant Stoddard passed away in Plano, TX on February 26, 2017. He was born on July 31, 1922 to Hugh White Stoddard and Leah Purssell Stoddard, becoming younger brother to Margaret Stoddard Smith, in Minneapolis MN. They moved to both Los Angeles, CA and Sioux City, IA, eventually settling in University Park, TX in 1937 where Grant attended Highland Park High School beginning in tenth grade through graduation.
Grant then began pursuing a degree in electrical engineering at the University of Texas in Austin in the fall of 1940, before Pearl Harbor was attacked. Grant was one of the original 110 Plank Owners for the Naval ROTC Unit at UT. While at UT Grant was also a member of Alpha Phi Omega, an honorary scouting service fraternity, along with several of his NROTC shipmates. He was one of thirteen in the first Naval ROTC graduating class (June 1943), leaving school early (i.e. without finishing his degree) to fight in World War II. He was assigned to the Naval Gunnery School in Norfolk, VA prior to being assigned to the destroyer USS Madison (DD-425). While in Norfolk, he and a friend went out on a double date with Shirley Louise Dickson and her sister, Marilyn. Grant fell in love with Shirley, a Duke University student, and they were married on December 19, 1943. While on the Madison, Grant served in various positions, though his goal was to be an engineer. His ship was involved in many campaigns including North Africa, Anzio, and the invasion of southern France and was then sent to the Pacific. His was one of the ships that went to the aid of the USS Indianapolis (CA-35), which had been sunk by a Japanese submarine. Just prior to its sinking, the Indianapolis had been on a top secret mission to deliver the first atomic bomb to the island of Tinian. After the Japanese surrendered and while the Madison was convoying troop transports to western Japan, Grant learned that his first child, Kathleen, had been born. He returned to the states, was discharged and went into the Naval Reserve.
Grant and his family returned to the University of Texas, where he completed his electrical engineering degree. The family of three moved to Dallas, where he went to work as a design engineer for Texas Power & Light Company in 1947. He loved his job and stayed with the company for 37 years, retiring as Manager of Substations and Transmissions. During his lifetime he was also very involved with IEEE, Oak Cliff Presbyterian Church, John Calvin Presbyterian Church, and First Christian Church of Plano. Grant had five children with Shirley before she passed away in 1966 after 23 wonderful years. He met and fell in love with Mary Walker Lesley, a widow with three children. They were happily married until she passed away in 1992 after 24 1/2 years. He fell in love once more with Esther Hernandez Saldana, who had four children. They were happily married for 24 years until his passing. He married and loved deeply three wonderful women and their children. Esther worked tirelessly to take care of him as his health failed in the past few years, for which we are extremely grateful.
Along with his first two wives, he was preceded in death by his daughter, Kathleen Stoddard Crosswell. He is survived by his wife, Esther, his children, Richard Grant Stoddard, Mark Andrew Stoddard, Eric Thomas Stoddard, Mary Frances Stoddard Long, Judy Lesley Clough, Linda Lesley Henneberger, Terry Lane Lesley, Maribel Saldana Perry, Mara Saldana McCoy, Joseph Miguel Saldana, and Daniela Vanessa Saldana, as well as 17 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.
Grant will be missed by his quick wit, generosity, love, and happy whistling. He was laid to rest at Sparkman-Hillcrest in Dallas, TX. A service was held on March 4th. Much of this obituary was taken from one published in the Dallas Morning News on March 2, 2017.
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Last Updated: March 3, 2017