Albert “Jack” Stodghill
Albert “Jack” Stodghill, the third son of James Benjamin Stodghill and Flora Nettie Smith Stodghill, died on October 2nd, 2022 at the age of 95 in Newport News, Virginia. Jack was born on October 4th, 1926 in Lenox, Georgia. He grew up in a simple rural setting on a small family farm halfway between Atlanta and Macon, Georgia.
He graduated from Jackson High School in Jackson, Georgia in 1944 and enlisted in the Army Air Corp to join World War II following his older brothers, James Edward Stodghill and John Bernard Stodghill. His younger brother Billie Newton Stodghill joined the Air Force in 1947. Jack attended Davidson College and North Georgia College as part of his education and training prior to active service. Jack was stationed at Fritzlar, Germany as part of the American occupational force in Germany.
Under the GI Bill, Jack attended the University of Georgia following his military service and graduated with an undergraduate degree in Landscape Architecture.
Jack was attracted back to Atlanta where he found both a life-long career in City Planning and met his life-long love, Nancy Jane Reinsmith. Jack and Nancy married in 1956 and lived in Miami Beach, Florida during their first year while Jack worked on-assignment to prepare a comprehensive plan for the City as a planner for the Atlanta office of Harland Bartholomew and Associates. Jack completed additional comprehensive plans for Naples, Vero Beach, Fort Pierce and Clearwater in Florida, as well as Waynesboro, Virginia and Toccoa, Georgia. Jack and Nancy returned to Atlanta where their three sons, Jeff, Carl and David were born.
In 1961 Jack accepted a position with the newly expanded City of Newport News as their second planning director. Jack guided the development of Newport News into one of Virginia’s biggest cities over a 14 year period. He completed a Master of Business Administration from George Washington University over this time. Jack created the city’s first Zoning Ordinance, planned Newport News Park and Golf Course, established Hilton Village as an historic district, created the Hilton Village Architectural Review Board and established Oyster Point as an industry and office park, which became “City Center” in Newport News.
Jack left public service in 1975 and began a planning consulting firm which became his professional focus for the remainder of his life. He opened the firm that year as Jack Stodghill & Associates. By 1978, Jack merged with Joseph M. Cross, Jr. and the firm was reorganized as Planning Management Associates. The firm endures today as a planning, architecture and design practice as PMA Architecture.
He served in the leadership of First United Methodist Church in Newport News providing leadership of the Sunday School program, spear-headed a successful church organ replacement project and successfully lead the church to add an elevator in later years. Jack led church group trips to Homestead Florida to assist in rebuilding after Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and to become involved in constructing houses in the Southeast Community of Newport News under the local Habitat for Humanity program. Jack could be a quiet force for good as well as a vocal advocate for change. In all things he carried the faith he developed early in his life as the son of a Baptist preacher.
He was a member of the Lions Club, the James River Country Club, Warwick Yacht and Country Club. He provided early leadership in the American Institute of Planners and served as the first president of the Virginia Chapter of the American Planning Association. In 2014, Jack received the ultimate honor of the planning profession and was admitted into the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners.
Throughout his life he loved playing his guitar. His mother promised him a guitar if he would take on the chores of milking the family cow. The guitar and amplifier accompanied him throughout his adult life. His final song was played at Warwick Forest in a talent show about ten days before his death – he won first place.
Jack outlived his parents, brother’s and his wife of 57 years. He is survived by his eldest son, Thomas Jeffrey Stodghill and his wife Katie Stuart Stodghill and their daughter Alice Rosewell Stodghill. He is also survived by his twin sons, Carl Douglas Stodghill and David Phillip Stodghill and their daughters respectively Sasha Nell Pitz and Taylor Smith.
Jack returned to Germany several times during his life. His last trip was sponsored through Newport News Sister Cities where he formed an enduring relationship with the family of Volker Glen Grap in Greifswald, DE. This friendship helped to establish a link for his granddaughter Alice to pursue her dream of college academic study and life in Germany where she currently resides.
Jack was laid to rest at a private grave-side service on October 8th at Peninsula Memorial Park. His family will host a celebration of life at the Newport News Golf Club at Deer Run 901 Clubhouse Way, Newport News, VA 23608, 12pm – 2pm on October 22, 2022.