C. Gail Hodges AKA Tontileo Lipshitz, a lifelong resident of Tewksbury, Massachusetts, born to Clarence W. and Narcissa G. Hodges on November 9, 1956, passed away unexpectedly on February, 3 2021.
Gail is survived by her Brother, Gary U. Hodges and his daughters, Melissa McCutcheon Candace James, Kristin Blenman, Hilary Brooks, along with 10 grand nieces and nephews, whose fondest memories are of her awesome pumpkin carvings at Halloween, the best presents ever, her beautifully decorated Christmas trees, and her super fun Easter egg hunts.
Gail graduated from Tewksbury Memorial High in 1974, then went on to study at Solari's School of Hair Design earning a degree in cosmetology in 1978. Using her stage name, Tontileo, she also studied under Peter Choyce at Harvard, earning a degree in "Philosophy of The World" in 1979.
Tontileo expressed her deepest abstract artistic emotions creating jewelry, pottery, photography, water and oil paintings in her art studio nestled in her father's apple orchard. She was a master crochet artist, a skilled seamstress and costume designer, too.
In 1975, Tontileo thrust herself into the acceptance of the fringes of the silent outcasts of the middle class society in Massachusetts and was crowned Queen of the LGBTQ, and the Classic '76 to '86 Punk Rock community where she forged an unbreakable bond with a young Gay artist, Michael, from their home town of Tewksbury. When Michael died by suicide in September of 1976, Tontileo carried the torch of LGBTQ rights, freedoms and mental health advocacy to honor his memory, and lead his legacy.
She continued this ideology when she worked as Chef de Cuisine at Sporter's on Cambridge St. in Boston, then the Tewksbury hospital where she was a receptionist for many years. When she took an early retirement in 2006, she cared for her beloved parents, stricken with dementia in their home until they passed away in 2010, then turned her farmhouse living room into a music studio where she plucked her bass guitar with her musician friends to record and mix music.
She'll always be remembered for her vibrancy, compassion, empathy for all, and so much more. Tontileo was a star in our universe, one that will only shine brighter upon us as she watches over us from above. All hail the Queen, Tontileo.
Special thanks to the Massachusetts LGBTQ, community and the Classic '76 to '86 Boston, Punk Rock community.
Tontileo Lipshitz, "I may be a woman, but I'm no lady!"
Due to current gathering restrictions a celebration of Gail's life will be held when it can be done safely.
Please make a donation on her behalf to the Trevor Project in memory of C. Gail Hodges, Tontileo Lipshitz. The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25. The Trevor Project, Attn: Development, PO Box 69232, West Hollywood, CA 90069. https://give.thetrevorproject.org/give/63307/#!/donation/checkout?c_src=EOY20&c_src2=headerdonatebutton