Thursday, May 01, 2014
Gerald E. Bodell and Eileen P. Bodell of Westport both died April 26. He was 80 and she was 79.
Eileen died at home in Westport and Gerry, as he was known, died at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Bridgeport, hours later, their family said.
After 54 years of marriage, Eileen was in perfect health though worried about Gerry, following a simple procedure to prepare him for dialysis, the family said.
Doctors informed the family that her heart simply stopped due to Broken Heart Syndrome. Though Gerry was unaware of Eileen’s cardiac arrest, he followed her just hours later, also following complications his doctors could not explain, according to the family.
“Though Westport EMTs valiantly resuscitated Eileen, she remained without brain function while on life support at Norwalk Hospital for three additional days. Whereas technically Eileen’s death occurred on April 29, the family considers her death to have occurred that same day,” a family-supplied obituary said.
Gerry was born Nov. 11, 1933 in Bridgeport. He was a graduate of Fairfield Prep, where he was the first-string quarterback, graduating in 1951. He attended Holy Cross College, Class of 1955 and Fordham University School of Law, Class of 1958, and served on the Board of Editors of the Fordham Law Review. He first practiced law with the firm of Cahill Gordon and in 1964 established his own law firm in Manhattan.
A recognized authority on legal cases involving the rights of the individual, he served as special counsel for the Legal Aid Society of New York and was involved in numerous constitutional law trials.
He served as general counsel of the New York Foundling Hospital, the Jewish Child Care Association of New York, Greer School and Children’s Community and Susquehanna Valley Home for Children. He was also counsel to the Association of 167 Child Caring Agencies of the State of New York, the Cardinal McClosky Home and School for Children in White Plains, St. Christopher’s School in Dobbs Ferry and St. Agnes Home in Sparkhill, NY.
He wrote and lectured extensively on children’s rights and child welfare law.
He was a member of both the New York and Connecticut Bar Associations, retiring from his legal career in 2004. He also held several elected positions. He served on the Mamaroneck Board of Education 1972 - 1974. He later served on Westport’s Representative Town Meeting, representing District 1 from 2000-2002 and again from 2004-2006.
He was an avid golfer, who played daily at the Longshore Club and weekly with his brothers, Alvin and Howard (deceased) for many years.
Eileen was born Feb. 15, 1935 in Bridgeport, and was a graduate of Lauralton Hall and University of Bridgeport’s Fone School of Dental Hygiene. She worked as a dental hygienist in the Bridgeport school system prior to her marriage.
Eileen and Gerry were married in Bridgeport in 1959. They later lived in Bronxville and then Larchmont, N.Y., where they raised their family before relocating to Westport 15 years ago.
Eileen was talented in interior design, working in a home décor store and even starting her own line of artisanal wreaths all while raising her children. She was the matriarch to her extended family and remained devoted to her lifelong friends from Lauralton Hall, her family said.
They are survived by their children Brian Bodell and his wife, Merrily, of Westport, Kevin Bodell and his wife Cristia of Fairfield and Kristin Deleno and her husband Keith of Bronx, N.Y. as well as grandchildren Cotton and Ellery Bodell and Toniann, Nikole and Layne Deleno. Gerald is also survived by his brother Alvin of Lordship. Eileen is survived by her sister Theresa Krehel of Easton, and her brother James Daly of Mechanicsburg, Pa. and their respective children.
Memorial visitation hours will be held at Pistey Funeral Home, 2155 Main St., Stratford, from 9 to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 10 with Mass following at 11 a.m. at Our Lady of Peace Church, 651 Stratford Road, Stratford. Burial will be private.
Posted 05/01/14 at 05:30 PM
Bless their hearts. I remember Gerry on the RTM. When he spoke, it was always worth hearing. And what lovely neighbors they were.
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