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.

      • Barbara Winard on September 9, 2021 at 9:53 pm

        I knew Ramon in NYC. He was perhaps the best person I have known.——smart, kind, and caring. He used his intelligence and passion to make the world better and talked about his mother with love.

        • Steve Hodel on September 9, 2021 at 10:05 pm

          Barbara W:
          I only met my half-brother Ramon on two or three brief occasions, but was very impressed with his intelligence and as you say, his passion of causes and his serious involvement in Amnesty International. So sad to lose him so young.

        • Mark McElligott on October 24, 2022 at 1:10 pm

          I knew Ramon also. He did not mention his mother much and I remember he said
          his father was a “shrink.” In fact I remember he said his Dad was Manray’s shrink.
          The last time I saw him we had breakfast together, he was very ill by that point.

  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.

  5. Zyna Hung on September 4, 2021 at 8:17 am

    I am confused 😕

    Did she hortensia divorce your dad??

    Or ws it him???

    Why do you still

    And did Deborah fauna was she molest by George???

    • Steve Hodel on September 4, 2021 at 9:25 am

      Zyna H:
      Yes. Hortensia was a devote Catholic and obtained a dispensation from the Pope.
      Deborah (Fauna II) was drugged by George as a teen and awakened in his hotel room bed nude and she discovered he was taking photographs of her.

  6. Moe on September 4, 2021 at 9:22 pm

    In your book

    I was confused. Did George REALLY GIVE inheritance to Tamar???

    Why did he killed her Elizabeth ,??
    Was she alive when he butchered her??
    In the photographs it doesn’t look like her. Mmm

    Her mouth look like something stuck in an her lipstick smeared badly
    Didne really cut bits of her flesh!???

    Is June alive?
    I find you very insightful and honest

    • Steve Hodel on September 4, 2021 at 9:30 pm

      Moe; Yes, each of George’s children received $10,000 at his death.
      You need to read BDA for your various questions. All answered. Have had no communication with June Hirano Hodel in past twenty years. Unknown where she is now located?

  7. Hally on September 5, 2021 at 7:40 pm

    Did she hortensia divorce your dad?

    With Deborah was IT once off

    Why do you love him if he abandoned u

    • Hally on September 6, 2021 at 4:00 am

      Why did hortensia dumped George

      • Steve Hodel on September 6, 2021 at 10:17 am

        Good question! I can only guess it was because of his “womanizing” and who knows what else? They had four children in just about five or six years and she quickly obtained a dispensation from the Pope to disolve the marriage.

    • Ivory Simmons on December 9, 2023 at 12:36 am

      At a young age, how were you affected when your father married and divorced women during his time?

      • Steve Hodel on December 9, 2023 at 9:37 am

        Ivory S:
        At a young age I and my brothers were unaware of our father’s marriages and divorces.
        All we knew by the early 1950s was that Dad was gone and we were off on the “Gypsy Years” as described in BDA I. It would not be until adulthood that I/we began to put together his varying marriages/divorces. We knew very few facts about him other than according to mother “he was a brilliant man and had been the head of the L.A. Health Department.”

  8. bob on September 5, 2021 at 9:08 pm

    Did Dorothy Anthony divorced your dad’s

    • Steve Hodel on September 5, 2021 at 9:36 pm

      Bob: I’m not sure that George Hodel and Dorothy Anthony were ever actually formally married?
      I’ve never seen a marriage or divorce certificate, so unknown. She may have just gone under Hodel for a short time before marrying BARBE. Tamar’s birth certificate lists her name as Tamar Nais Anthony, born in San Francisco in 1935.

      • bob on September 6, 2021 at 1:59 am

        Do your
        Grandparents rebuke George about incest?

        Did you ever tell them about your issues

        • Steve Hodel on September 6, 2021 at 10:12 am

          You need to read the books to understand. George’s mother died long the year Tamar was born. His father believed his son’s denials and died in early Fifties. I would not learn of my father’s criminality for another fifty years-in 1999 at his death.

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