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Denise Page Hood
United States District Court Judge

As we venture through this journey called life, we begin to understand that dreams evolve. This is especially true for many of our parents born during an era in which African American fathers often didn’t have the luxury of chasing dreams of their own. For Richard Arlen Page, the father of United States District Court Judge, Denise Page Hood, what began as a dream of academic and professional pursuits of his own evolved slowly into dreams of being a good husband to his wife, Nancy, and a loving and present father to his two daughters, Denise and Teri. Though Richard Page departed this world more than a decade ago, Hood remembers her father fondly and recounts the close relationship they shared. She tells of the many ways her father’s dreams were fulfilled as he worked tirelessly to create a loving family environment while encouraging his daughters to pursue opportunities that would allow them to grow beyond their own expectations. Richard Page believed there were no limits on how high his daughters could go in life. His lessons ignited in them both, a passion for education, a commitment to helping others and a sense of purpose.

Hood always felt supported and protected by her father. Growing up, she knew he was there encouraging her, relishing the moments they spent together, admonishing her with a gentle yet firm hand when she got out of line, but always, always loving her. This feeling was something she never actively thought about, it just was. Her dad made it his priority to be there for her and her sister. He made sure they were able to be the best they could be, giving them things he never had as a child.

During her senior year, she attended a cotillion with her boyfriend. Her father instructed her to call if she thought she would arrive home past her curfew. She couldn’t find a phone except for one lone telephone locked in an office, which was of no use to her. Forty-five minutes later, someone yelled, “Denise, your dad is here!” She made her way outside to find her father standing there wearing a plaid jacket and a hat, and by then he had grown a distinguished-looking beard. She walked up to her father and tried to explain why she couldn’t call to say she’d be late. No sooner than she could get the words out, she spotted two pay phones where dozens of coats were piled up. Her father shook his head and he laughed, “I think you should get in the car,” he said. He opened the passenger side door and helped her in, then walked around to the driver’s side. “I know your boyfriend doesn’t know the way back, so let’s see if he can keep up,” he said, as he pressed the gas and took off. He was right, her boyfriend didn’t know the way back. Hood pleaded for her father to slow down in order for her boyfriend to at least keep the car in his sight as he drove behind them. Her pleas fell on deaf ears. Richard knew his daughter was a good girl who didn’t set out to break the rules. Besides, she maintained excellent grades in school. However, he always kept a watchful eye over her to make sure she didn’t have much of an opportunity to get in trouble and felt it was important to remind her that he was the boss. After all, this was his job as a father.

Not a day goes by that Hood isn’t reminded of her father’s life lessons. Reflecting on her father’s life, Hood proudly shares that her father, Richard Page, was a good man who worked hard. He taught her that living a purpose-filled life requires lots of interests that take you beyond your circumstances so that you may truly experience what life may unfold for you. Lessons from her father were about fulfilling one’s dreams—no matter what they are—and doing your absolute best with what you have.

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