In a memorial proceeding honoring Fred Dodge on Saturday, February 8, 1936, at a Special term of the Hennepin County District Court, Ralph Whelan began his tribute with an observation that applies to all lawyers:
"It is fitting that a minute be made in the records of this Court to perpetuate some slight remembrance of this man, his character and attainments, that all may not be forgotten and lost. A lawyer's high character, reputation and fame in his profession, built up by a lifetime of energy, industry and patient toil, no matter how general and wide-spread, is at most but fleeting and transitory. Death overtakes him sooner or later. Then reputation and fame like a puff of vapor, like a fast-flying cloud, soon pass, fade away and are forgotten. Alas! When we contemplate man's bodily frailties, the objects of his earthly ambitions and strivings and the shortness of human life, we are led to exclaim with the men of old: 'What shadows we are! What shadows do we pursue!' "
Dodge specialized in insolvency and bankruptcy cases from the early 1880s to 1935, when he died at age eighty-three. He was not consumed by the practice of law. For him, it was a means to pursue and enjoy other interests: he was a passionate gardener and orchardist, Jeffersonian Democrat, inveterate book collector and voracious reader, especially of English and French literature and history. Colleagues, friends and neighbors recalled him as "a sound lawyer, a modest scholar and a cultivated gentleman."