William Edward Bodwell (1926-1913)

Son of: Vernor 1885

BRUNSWICK -- William 'Brother Bill' E. Bodwell, 87, passed away June 7, 2013 in Brunswick. He was born April 23, 1926 in Dorchester, Mass., son of Vernor and Mildred Gowen Bodwell. He was a 1944 graduate of Deering High School (Class Marshall) and graduated from the University of Maine, Orono in 1950 where he was a member of Phi Kappa Sigma Fraternity and the student conductor and drum major of the UMO marching band. Enlisting while a senior at Deering High, he served in the US Air Force from 1944 to 1946. He married Janet Marston of Waterford, Maine on Dec. 18, 1954. Brother Bill was an automobile dealer for over 50 years in Maine and the founder of Bodwell Chrysler-Dodge Inc, in Brunswick. At one time he owned four dealerships along Route 1 from Brunswick to Waldoboro. He began working for Bodwell-Leighton, his father's DeSoto dealership in Portland. His business career began with ownership of a Mobil gas station on Forest Ave. He sold yellow page ads throughout Maine for New England Telephone until he opened his first automobile dealership on Front Street in Bath in 1955. He also operated two service stations and a full-scale wrecker service from his Ford dealership on Route 1 in Bath, and a power equipment dealership in Brunswick. Brother Bill was on call 24 hours a day for any emergencies needing the big wrecker. A suit and tie was not for him, instead he enjoyed going on wrecker calls and was known for his ever-present Bodwell Motors uniform and UMaine hockey hat.

He was a member of the Dodge Advisory Council and served as Treasurer of the New England Dodge Advertising Association. He was a trustee for the Bath Savings institution for 27 years and recognized for 50 years of dedicated service to Bath Rotary Club, for whom he played the piano at all Rotary functions. He was a co-founder and 50-year member of the Bath Municipal Band, playing the bass drum with cymbal atop and towed the band trailer to area concert events with his wrecker. He also played the clarinet in high school and college and was also a member of Chandler's Band in Portland that lead the Bowdoin graduation parade for decades.

He was an enthusiastic alumnus and supporter of the University of Maine at Orono serving as Class President and later as Class Agent. He enjoyed sharing his enthusiasm about the University with high school students and had three grandsons at UMaine this year. The hockey team and its successes were a passion for him and he donated the use of many cars to the Alumni Office, The University Foundation and the Athletic Department. He received the Block M Award, the William E. Bodwell Black Bear Award, The Pine Tree Award, and The Family Legacy Award among others for those endeavors. He is survived by brothers Russell of Orono and Vernor of Dexter, and a sister Viola Chapman and husband Rodman Chapman of Rockville, Conn.; daughter Karen and husband William of Westfield, Mass., sons James and wife Kimberly of Brunswick, Scott and wife Sheila of Brunswick, William II and fiancee Roberta Green of Topsham; and grandchildren Jenna, Jonathan, Erik, Sierra, Jeffrey, Blake and William III; as well as many nieces and nephews. He cherished spending time with the entire family especially at Harpswell's Card Cove and Damariscotta Lake and attending sporting events of his children and grandchildren. He also enjoyed piloting 'The Brother', a wooden lobster boat, with family and friends on board.

A speech describing Brother Bill at his age 72 (mandated) retirement party after 27 years on the Board of Trustees of Bath Savings Institution described him in the following manner: 'Through the years, you have given of yourself with a great eagerness and fervor; often to the extent that you have been the needed source of inspiration to your fellow Board members to expand our products and services and our geographic area. You have always had a deep concern for, and interest in helping the common person, and you brought that admirable philosophy and concept to our Board Room table. You are a loyal person with a great sense of fairness. You're not artificial, or complex, or hypocritical. You are quite simply -- very natural: 'what you see is what you get.' Above all, you're sincere, genuine, and faithful. All of these qualities contribute to the making of the character (and I use that word in its best sense) known to one and all as 'Brother Bill'.'

BornDiedMarried Spouse
23 Apr 19267 Jun 201318 Dec 1954 Janet Elizabeth Marston
Dorchester, MaBrunswick, MeWaterford, Ma b. 2 nov 1932

Children of William and Janet (Marston) Bodwell

NameBirth Date Birth PlaceDeath Date Death Place
1.Karen Elizabeth10 Jun 1956 Portland, Me
2.James Edward30 Mar 1959 Bath, Me
3.Richard Scott14 May 1960 Bath, Me
4. William Edward*18 Mar 1967 Bath, Me

*William is currently serving as a Maine State Representative. He is a graduate of Brunswick High School and attended the University of Maine at Orono where he studied business and communications. He owns and operates Sierra's Restaurant in Gorham. Portland Press Herald, November 2, 1996.


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Copyright (C) 1996, 1997 Donald J. Bodwell. All rights reserved