By Sue Dewerff Panzarino, Viera Living East Edition, June 2023
Photos by Nerissa Johnson, Lady Blue Photography
Indian River Colony Club residents Jane Hodges and Dave Hutton met in Nigeria in 2000.
An international oil engineer for Shell Petroleum Development Corporation, Dave was working as the Head of Planning and Production for SPDC at the time near the Niger Delta.
“I was working for an NGO, introducing space science to the forty elementary and high schools built by the oil company when we met. I think we had an instant connection, as we both had a lot in common,” said Jane.
Jane, who retired from the Public Affairs Directorate at NASA after a long career in aerospace education, has traveled to more than 80 countries.
Since their marriage they have shared many travel adventures together in the past 23 years; and are currently on a two-month vacation this summer to Atlanta, Scotland, Ireland, and the Netherlands to visit their children and friends.
After retirement, the couple, upon the encouragement of NASA, founded an international consulting firm, entitled Edisto Press International Consulting. The firm won the Business of the Year award from the Cocoa Beach Chamber of Commerce in the early 2000’s.
An author of fifteen educational instructional books, many of which demonstrated hands-on activities in aviation and space, Jane was the first woman to receive the prestigious National Space Club Cape Canaveral Chapter Lifetime Achievement Award in 2021.
An air force pilot widow, she worked in many civilian positions in the Army, Air Force, and Department of Defense Education Activities, and once held a rank of Major in the Civil Air Patrol as a Search and Rescue pilot and was Director of Aerospace Education for the Southeast Region USAF/CAP. Her other accolades include speaking engagements at the IRCC Military Forum, SHAPE/NATO Florida Chapter Conference, and the MOAACC (Military Officers Association of America Cape Canaveral Chapter), and the Warbird Museum’s STEM Project.
She was also recognized during her career for numerous professional awards, including NASA, DODEA, and the Air Force Association, and inducted into the National Congress on Aviation and Space Crown Circle. She received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). She was also selected by Florida Today as ‘Volunteer of the Year”.
“I have always believed my education has been the key to my happiness,” said Jane. “Learning about other cultures, religions, and beliefs through my work and travels was enhanced by my formal university attendance.”
Jane holds seven college degrees, including two PhDs and a law degree she earned just prior to her 69th birthday, just five years ago.
“I felt that learning about the legal system would help me bring what I experienced first-hand in my family pertaining to seniors being scammed.”
Jane became a FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) Arbitrator as a result.
Dave, a native Scotsman, born in Perth, has lived all over the world. He holds graduate degrees in engineering and engineering management, as well as a drama degree from Manchester University. He is an avid follower of the Manchester United Soccer team, and his love for Irish music and passion for his heritage is shared weekly as a member of the Nolan’s Irish Pub session band. Dave plays his Irish drum (Bodhran) and ukulele and enjoys singing gospel music with members of the IRCC community.
Dave’s Scottish clan is Malcolm, but ‘Jane claims Robert the Bruce, a Scottish Gaelic who was known as the King of Scots during the 1300 century as her direct ancestor.
Jane was a recent contestant in the Ms. Florida Senior America Pageant, held at The Villages on April 29.
The event, one that honors women who have reached the “Age of Elegance,” exemplifies the dignity, maturity, and inner beauty of senior women. Contestants were judged in four categories: a biography interview, a philosophy of life presentation, an evening gown competition, and talent performances.
Jane’s talent, a Hawaiian Hula dance, was one she chose after being inspired to learn and teach to children in Honolulu, HI back in 1969. She was a participant at a Don Ho dinner show during while living in Waikiki Beach and became a member of what she referred to as his harem, encouraging audience participation. She has since enjoyed the dance and chose to present her knowledge of the moves as her talent.
“It was an amazing experience to be able to step out of my comfort zone and participate in this pageant, not only representing the state of Florida, but the county of Brevard and my IRCC community,” Jane said. “I made so many new friends and am so appreciative of my husband, Dave, my daughter, Lara, and everyone who came to support me in my very first pageant.”
“I believe this experience was one that truly inspired me to never stop learning, and it was a confirmation that beauty is not always defined by age.”
Jane is now officially a member of the Ms. Florida Senior America Cameo Club.
“My daughter Lara, and grandson, Chase who live in Atlanta are my proudest achievements,” Jane admits. Dave’s sons, Neil and Gary both reside with their families in Scotland and Thailand.
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