Obituary: Laurence G. Bodkin, Jr. ’53

It’s with especial sadness that I record the death on November 22, 2020 of my Deerfield classmate and college roommate Laurence G. Bodkin, Jr.  He died surrounded by family members at his home in Larchmont, New York, from the complications of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.  In college, Larry (or Bods as some of us called him) distinguished himself by making appropriate use of his slight physique to be active on varsity crew and in varsity squash, in both of which he earned a Y.  In the former, he served as coxswain and was a candidate for that position on the U.S. 1956 Olympic team; in the latter (which he played until late in life, often with Alan Hockstader), he was an opponent who could dart about the court, sometimes it seemed under the legs of taller opponents almost without being seen.  After Harvard Law School, he devoted most of his career to tax law, principally with the firm of Jackson & Nash, in which he was long a partner.  Following his retirement, Bods involved himself in two efforts, both of which he found immensely satisfying, to help others.  The first involved assisting young people with special learning needs to navigate their way through New York City’s vast educational bureaucracy.  The second was service for the federal courts in New York as a mediator in disputes involving retirement and disability benefits.  He often spent his leisure hours at the piano, playing golf and tennis, and sailing the waters near his family house in Stony Brook, Connecticut.  A reserved man of comparatively few words, of warm personality that was sometimes hidden by a deceptively grumpy bearing, and of always easy laughter, Larry was a kind, caring, and thoughtful man.  Frank Michelman, a Deerfield and Harvard Law as well as Yale classmate, recalls him with “great fondness” starting in the earliest days at Deerfield for being among the first to welcome a “new boy” into a strange setting with “welcome, warmth, and cheer.”  Larry is survived by his wife of 57 years Muriel (Mimsie), their children Laurence III, Anne, Katherine Robinson, and Christopher, their children’s spouses and children, and 11 grandchildren.  Donations in his memory should go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (//

Jim Banner, Jr.


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