Widow remembers Blytheville officer who died at 31 from food allergy

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

OSCEOLA, Ark. – A Blytheville police officer will be laid to rest Saturday after he died suddenly from an allergic reaction to cashews Wednesday.

Officer George Hodgkiss was only 31.

“George knew he was loved and I knew that people loved him. I just didn’t know how many people he really touched,” said his widow Jessalyn Hodgkiss.

She still marvels at all of the people – including many of her late husband’s fellow officers – who showed up to pay their respects at his visitation in Osceola Friday night.

She said Hodgkiss was celebrating a new job offer with friends the day he passed away.

“He never tried walnuts and cashews. We kept saying, ‘Nah, we’re not gonna bother with those,’ and for some reason that night he just decided, ‘I guess tonight’s the night to try it,’” Jessalyn Hodgkiss said.

It was a tragic end to a life defined by service.

Before he joined the Blytheville Police Department, Hodgkiss served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

“He loved serving overseas,” said his widow.

He brought that same joy back home with him, quickly earning a reputation with his colleagues.

“He made me laugh all 12 hours. So long as he was working with me, I knew I was gonna have a good day,” said Elsa Harvey, who worked with Hodgkiss at the police department.

It didn’t matter if you worked with Hodgkiss or met him at work – the results were the same.

“That was an officer – if you ever got pulled over, you were probably gonna be laughing,” Harvey said.

Many are still laughing just thinking about their favorite Hodgkiss memories, and his widow says that’s probably the way he would have wanted it.

“He’d be mad that everybody’s crying,” she said.

Hodgkiss’ funeral will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Roller Swift Funeral Home in Osceola.