|Birth: ||Sep. 3, 1924|
|Death: ||Feb. 7, 2008|
Son of Edwin and Florence (Peterson) Bodkin
Survived by his children John Swegels III, Jeffery Edwin Bodkin, and Kimberly Bodkin Webster grandchildren Mathew Swegels, Lucas, Liam and Lauren Webster and great grand daughter Addison Swegels.
John grew up as a child of the Detroit Yacht Club spending summers aboard his father's yacht – "Vagabond." These formative years established a love of the water that was a central theme throughout his life. Upon reaching adulthood he graduated from the University of Michigan's Naval Architecture Program - a background that was to serve him well throughout his life as a prolific builder and designer.
In the waning years of World War II he served in the US Navy as a Naval Architect and designer. Among the projects he worked on was a program to improve destroyer performance by harnessing 4 engines in two banks called "pancaking." After the war he continued in the marine trades designing among other things a new set of props for the Boblo boat "Columbia" for better fuel efficiency and power.
In the post war years he decided to strike out on his own and founded the John E. Bodkin Yacht Brokerage. This began with the restoration of the Indian Village property that housed his offices and became his home during the 1950's and early 1960's. Over the next 30 years the business grew to become the largest yacht brokerage in the Great Lakes Region; and one of the most renowned in the nation during it's time. Thousands of boats were sold by the firm ranging in size from the 19" Lightning that he helped to establish in the Detroit area to sale of some of the largest yachts in the world. He was especially proud of being the first broker to display a sailboat with it's mast up at the Detroit Boat show.
He was a well respected sailor having competed in many Mackinac races, Southern Ocean Racing Circuits, and Bermuda Races throughout the 1940's, 50's & 60's. He crewed on many boats of renown such as "Dorade", "Escapade" and the New York 32's "Apache and Falcon." As a long term member of Bayview Yacht Club and Detroit Yacht Club he also owned several boats of his own. Most notable of these was the historic yacht "Helene" which he brought back from coastal defense duty after WWII and still graces the waterways of the Detroit area.
During the 1970's he changed vocations and home towns founding a printing company that serviced the automotive industry for 20 years. He retired from the business in 2001 and continued to live in St Clair, MI for the duration of his life. During these waning years he lived an active life converting an 1872 vintage one room school house into his home. The final result became a landmark in that community; and was often re-visited by former students who marveled at the quality of the workmanship and his stewardship of the property.
John will be remembered in a celebration of his life at the Detroit Yacht Club on Saturday, March 8th, 2008 from 4 – 8 pm.
Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.
Created by: Kim Koper♥Davis ...
Record added: Feb 21, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 24801247