Remembering Joe "Jodie" Hermes

Jodie Hermes, Jr., one of the founders of the Red Ravens, passed away peacefully while surrounded by his family on April 16 at the age of 70.

Jodie always had a special love for music. He played the accordion, trumpet, piano, saxophone, and steel guitar. He started his musical journey with his friend, Hubert Janak and started playing together at local venues. They decided to take their gift of music to the next level as they created their own polka bands. Jodie founded the Red Ravens in 1969 and under the musical influence of the Vrazels, Joe Patek, and Leo Majek Orchestras forged one of the most hard-working and favorite bands of Central Texas. Fifty-nine years later, still going strong, the Red Ravens were inducted into the South Texas Polka Hall of Fame in March 2018.

It was at weddings, church picnics, and dances that Jodie shared his love of music with others. Whether he was singing his favorite Czech polka or waltz, hanging out with his many friends and acquaintances, or dancing; he was always happy with the gift of music in his heart. Later in life, Jodie contributed labor and entertainment to the construction of the Texas Polka Museum in Schulenburg and served as a board member, so that many generations to come would enjoy his musical heritage.


Jodie was born the eldest of six children to Joe J. & Adele Netardus Hermes Sr.on July 4, 1947, in Hallettsville. Jodie married Gladys Cordes on August 1, 1970 and were together for 20 years. In that time, they had their only son, Shannon. Jodie was a member of the US Army National Guard and was honorablydischarged in 1972. He worked for the county, the Texas Highway Department, but it was at LCRA that he found his true passion and worked for over 35 years.

He progressed through the company and became a leading project manager. Jodie was instrumental in building the Matagorda Bay Nature Park and Natural Science Center in 2006. He was recognized for his contribution and public service during the Matagorda Bay Nature Park Hurricane Ike Cleanup Project. As a result of his country “can do” upbringing, he was an inspirational leader that many looked up to.

A favorite hobby of Jodie was his love for working the land and tractors. Whether it was a maintainer, bulldozer, or tractor, he would work the land the Good Lord had blessed him with. He had a gift at grading the road just right and getting his garden to grow.

Jodie and his family have always been known as having a molasses press on the homestead. He would love to have family and friends gather to plant, strip, and press the molasses. Jodie was known in the family as the expert at knowing the exact time to know when the molasses was perfectly cooked and needed to be put in jars.

Jodie loved to buy antique tractors and implements. He would travel to different states to purchase a tractor that reminded him of his dad’s. Jodie joined the South Texas Wheel Spinners & Crank Twisters club. He enjoyed bringing his antique tractors to different festivals and tractor pulls. He would look forward to these events with such joy in his heart.


Jodie was a simple man who loved for his family and friends to gather and share a meal together. He affectionately called making BBQ, “burning meat” and he would do so on a regular basis, gathering for pavilion and barn parties. He was an exceptional cook and was wonderful at cooking stew and chicken noodle soup. He loved to eat some sausage and fresh bread he called a “wrap around.” He showed his love for others through food.

Of all the things that Jodie loved, he cherished his family the most. His brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, and in-laws were so special to him. He cherished his son, Shannon. He and Shannon had many precious memories working cows, playing music together, and working on various projects around the farm. Jodie was so immensely proud of his grandsons, Adam and Ryan.

When Adam and Ryan were younger, he would always pick them up every Saturday morning and they would go to town, and would get a push up and Coke in a glass bottle. As the boys grew up, he took Adam and Ryan along with his brother-in-law, Larry, on road trips. They traveled through various states and had many priceless stories along the way. Jodie loved to spend time with Adam and Ryan and they could even convince him to find a good Motel 6 and spend the night at the drop of a hat and take a dip in the swimming pool. It is in family that Jodie always found home.

As time passed Jodie had found his health declining. He always had a strong will, independence, and sense of humor through it all. Jodie showed how to live through good times and bad and his character will be his legacy. And he always did things his way.

Jodie is survived by: his son Shannon Hermes & wife Kelly of Hallettsville; 2 sisters, Becky Stastny & husband Larry, and Jeanette McAfee & husband Donald; 3 brothers, Tommy Hermes & wife Joyce, Kenneth Hermes & wife Lora, and Ronnie Hermes & wife Maria; 2 grandchildren, Ryan & Adam Hermes; and numerous nieces & nephews, and extended family.

Texas Polka News

5715 Spanish Oak Drive
Houston, TX 77066