Hortensia Hodel Starke, 89 – Dies in the Philippines

 Dr. George Hodel’s ex-wife served in Philippine Congress from 1987-1995 

Corgresswoman Hortensia Hodel Starke circa 1988

Copy of hortensia photo065.jpg

My ex-stepmother, Hortensia Laguda Hodel Starke suffered a heart attack and passed away on November 29, 2010 in her home in Negros Occidental, in the southern Philippines.

Hortensia originally met my father on a visit to Los Angeles in 1949 when she was just 28. After leaving L.A. for the Territory of Hawaii they reunited in 1951 and were married a year later in Sonora, Mexico.

George Hodel relocated to Hortensia’s family home in Manila, Philippines in 1954 and they had four children. (First child was born in Hawaii in 1952) George and Hortensia were divorced (dispensation from the Pope) in the late 1950s.

Hortensia was born to a prominent Filipino family (The Lopez’s) and was elected to the Philippine Congress in 1987. See bio/obit below.

 I have many pleasant memories of visiting with her and my then young half-brothers and sisters. One of my fondest memories was a week visit to her sugar plantation, Hacienda Bino, in Negros, Occidental and to their home in Forbes Park, a suburb of Manila.




                                        Beach in Negros, Occidental, Philippines




Former congresswoman Hortensia Starke, 89

By Carla Gomez
Inquirer Visayas
First Posted 08:51:00 12/02/2010


BACOLOD CITY–Former Representative Hortensia Starke, the fearless critic of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, champion of the sugar industry during the dictatorship, and staunch opponent of land reform, died on Monday at her home in Talisay City, Negros Occidental.

“She was 89 and her heart gave out,” her son Mark Hodel said.

Starke represented Negros Occidental’s sixth district in Congress from 1987 to 1995.

“I am saddened to hear of [her] passing. She was a sincere, strong, and courageous fighter for reforms in the sugar industry. We will surely miss her,” said Government Service Insurance System chairman Daniel Lacson Jr., who was Negros Occidental governor when Starke was in Congress.

Rafael Coscolluela, another former governor and former head of the Sugar Regulatory Administration, said Starke was one of the most colorful personalities in Negros.

“Hortense brought a unique presence to local and national politics. She spoke her mind without hesitation and fought for her causes without fear. It was good to have her on our side during the difficult martial law era and during the early post-Marcos elections,” Coscolluela said.



  1. Kathy on December 28, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    You have our condolences in the loss of your stepmother, Steve — she sounds like a fascinating character, just as so many others who have touched your life!

  2. Starlotte Verano Dagunan on March 1, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    I remember when i was at a young age i am really excited everytime i saw her face when she visits our place Hacienda Bino..All people lived on it called her (inday orti)..She is very good to us and a very loving and kind person.

  3. Bess on May 3, 2019 at 3:33 pm

    What happened to those children? Have you been able to talk to them?

    • Steve Hodel on May 3, 2019 at 4:36 pm

      Bess: My Filipino half-brothers and sisters are NOT in agreement with my investigative findings and find it all but impossible to believe their/our father could have committed serial murders. My two half-brothers, Ramon and Mark have passed on from separate illnesses, but my two-half sisters, are alive but are not communicating, and I am doubtful that they have read my books.

  4. Cecilio F. Hernandez on September 26, 2019 at 12:55 am

    I happened to be with Congw. Starke in some of her worthy causes while in Congress. With eternal remembrance of her fearless advocacies and memory from Batangas..

    • Steve Hodel on September 26, 2019 at 1:47 am

      Cecilio H. Salamat Po.

Leave a Comment