Paul Garvin Bodwell (1885 - 1968)

Son of John 1838

As a young man Paul attended the University of Tennessee, where he played varsity basketball and studied electrical engineering. During the college summer months he worked for Ohio Bell, stringing phone lines over the mountains. Paul left college after his Junior year, in 1909. Paul met Avis when they were both Sophomores at UT. He sat behind her in church for a year before he introduced himself. He told his friends, "If she looks as good from the front as she does from the rear, I'm going to marry her." After college, Paul went to work in the Signal Department of the Rock Island RR at Joellette, Illinois. Three years later, he went to work for the L&N RR in signal construction to be closer to Avis. In 1915 he worked in Kansas City installing signal communication for the Kansas City Terminal. In 1915 Paul was transferred to Paris, Kentucky. In 1917, Paul went to work for the Central of Georgia RR in Macon, Georgia. By 1923, Paul and family were living in Savannah, Georgia. When the US entered WW I, Paul volunteered for the army. He went to camp to become an officer but was sent home as being underweight. At 6' 2" Paul was always slender. Later Paul went to work as a Signal Maintainer for the Seaboard Airline Railroad. As the depression years rolled on, Paul was one of the few men in the neighborhood with a steady job. He performed many acts of charity during this time. Paul retired in 1950 in Raleigh, North Carolina. He was very active in the Baptist Church there. Paul loved to tend his huge garden and work in the yard. The part of the yardwork Paul disliked was raking leaves. In the mid-1950's, Paul tinkered with a gas powered lawn mower, ultimately rebuilding the chassis and attaching a homemade bag, he invented what may have been the first powered leaf sweeper. Paul and Avis moved to Tampa, Florida in the early 1960's where they maintained a small winter home.

BornDiedMarried Spouse
15 Nov 18851 Feb 1968 14 Jan 1914Avis Spessard
Logan, KsTampa, FlKnoxville, Tn b. 26 Feb 1887

Children of Paul and Avis (Spessard) Bodwell

NameBirth Date Birth PlaceDeath Date Death Place
1.Elsie M. Sawyer16 May 1915 Paris, Ky5 Jan 1971 Pompano Bch, Fl
2.Paul Garvin 21 Mar 1917Forsythe, Ga
3.Helen Spessard24 Oct 1918 Macon, Ga18 Jan 1936 Raleigh, Nc
4. John Theodore 1923Savannah, Ga15 Nov 1944 Alsace-Loraine, France

Paul G Bodwell, Sr. and wife Avis Spessard Bodwell

December 18, 1996
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Contact: December 26,1996
Copyright (C) 1996, 1997 Donald J. Bodwell. All rights reserved.