September 19, 2017
Los Angeles, California
“Finally, I absolutely forbid that my body be opened upon any pretext whatsoever. I would have it laid to rest, without ceremony of any kind.”
Marquis de Sade
“I do not wish to have funeral services of any kind. There is to be no meeting or speeches or music and no gravestone or tablet. I direct that my physical remains be cremated and that my ashes be scattered over the ocean.”
Dr. George Hill Hodel
Above are the handwritten funeral instructions of both
Donatien Alphonse Francois, Marquis de Sade (2 June 1740 – 2 December 1814) and George Hill Hodel M.D. (10 October 1907-17 May 1999)
Sade, of course, was the noted French Libertine for whom the term Sadism was coined and his erotic writings on sexual depravity and torture (Justine, Juliette, The 120 Days of Sodom etc.) made him the champion/anti-hero of the later, Surrealist Movement.
Chief among the surrealists was George Hodel’s good friend and our family photographer, Man Ray, who praised Sade in both word and art as “One of the freest thinkers ever born.” Here are three of Man Ray’s homages to “The Divine Marquis” from the mid-1930s.
George Hodel’s Ashes Scattered at Sea on Sade’s Birthday-
June 2, 1999
June Hodel holding urn containing father’s ashes being transported out under Golden Gate Bridge to Point Bonita for dispersal. At his request “no words were spoken, no family attended, no meetings, no speeches, no music, no gravestone, no tablet.”
I took this surreal looking photo in July 1999. June is standing above the lighthouse at Pt. Bonita. She had me drive her to The Point numerous time in the following months so she could be in the presence of her husband of thirty years.
June was suicidal for a long time after George’s passing and planned to “join him” by taking her own life. I kept in regular close contact for the critical six months after his death and was able to give her encouragement and support to “go on with life.”
I chanced upon the below letter which I had written and faxed to June from my home in Bellingham, Washington on 2 June 1999, the day of my father’s burial at sea.
Obviously, the curtain was yet to rise on the Greek Tragedy that would become the House of Hodel in five acts.
A few family photos