Naples native was a pioneer in architecture


NEWTON — Rosaria Flores Hodgdon, 92, a woman pioneer in the field of architecture and an early leader in the Great Books Foundation, died September 8 in Needham after a lengthy illness.

Born in Naples, Italy, she was encouraged by her family to follow her passion for architecture, graduating from the University of Naples in 1945. After Naples fell to the Allies in 1943, she met her future husband, David Hodgdon, an American ambulance driver serving with a British unit that occupied her family’s villa.

After the war they came to his hometown, Wakefield. They were married for 64 years until his death in 2009.

She practiced architecture in Wakefield and at the same time coordinated 60 reading groups for the Great Books Foundation, at that time the largest adult education organization in the country.

In 1963 she went to work for Shepley Bullfinch in Boston, moving in 1971 to CBT. The University of Oregon hired her in 1972 to teach in its School of Architecture. She won the Cornaro Tercentenary Award and was a Danforth Associate for outstanding teaching; she was granted tenure in 1979 and remained for 20 years.

She published one book “Housemoving: Old Houses Make Good Neighbors.”

In New England her projects included the Somerset Hotel in Boston, the Beebe Library in Wakefield, and the Hartford Hospital.

She is survived by two sons, Andrew and Charles of Newton, and a daughter Victoria of Portland Oregon.

Funeral services will take place 11 a.m. Saturday, September 13, at Saint Mary’s Episcopal Church, 258 Concord St., Newton.

Visiting hours are Friday, September 12, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the home of Andrew Hodgdon.

Henry J. Burke & Sons Funeral Home was in charge of the arrangements.

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