Walt Bodine, 92, died Sunday, March 24, 2013, after a long career in broadcasting. His final days were filled with Kansas City memories, friends, family and chocolate malts.
Born in 1920, Walt lived virtually his entire life in Kansas City. He was the only child of Walton Martin Bodine and Mary Gilmore Bodine. His career spanned 70 years from 1940 until his retirement in 2012. Much has been said of his professional life, so the focus here is on the private man and family.
In 1950, Walt married Bernadine Beisner and raised a family of five. Bernadine passed away in 2003. Walt is survived by his children, Marty Bodine, Tom Bodine (Ellen), Damien Bodine and Rebecca Bodine (Mark x) of Kansas City, and Mary Bodine of Tucson, AZ. Walt has five grandchildren, David Bodine, Alexandra Thiessen (Adam) and Zachary Walton Bodine of Kansas City, and Jessica Bodine (Allen) of Lawrence, KS, and Terry Carr (Jen) of Belton, MO. He also leaves these great grandchildren: Jala, Hannah, Xzavier and Aeryn. Walt gave to his family his values, humor and love of Kansas City people, places and food. He set an example of how to live a rich, creative life. Walt loved conversation and the open exchange of ideas.
In later years when losses of vision, mobility and then memory set in, Walt relied on many steadfast friends who kept him up-to-date and took him out on the town. We send our deepest love and appreciation to all of them, especially Robert Barrientos and Rob Forsythe. Walt also received years of caring friendship from Odessa Nix and Anita Martin, and all his friends and neighbors at Oak Hall.
Walt was a man who rarely complained and forged ahead every way he could. He once said, “Being blind isn’t a tragedy. It’s just one hell of an inconvenience.” Decades of blindness could not dim his imagination and interest in people. Walt and his wife Bernie helped to establish the Jackson County Board of Services, which is a vital support to many local people with disabilities.
Walt was a founder of a Saturday lunch group where lively ideas, views and news flew around the table every week, and still do. He was a member of Visitation parish. And, of course, he was a very proud member of KCUR public radio. Generous to the end, Walt donated his body to medical science, as did his wife Bernie.
There will be a public Celebration of the Life of Walt Bodine at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 30, 2013, at the Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 W 47th St, Kansas City, MO.
Memorial contributions in lieu of flowers can be made to either the UMKC Foundation’s Walt Bodine scholarship fund, UMKC Office of Development, 202 AC, 5100 Rockhill Road, Kansas City, MO 64110 or the Children's Center for the Visually Impaired, 3101 Main Street, Kansas City, MO 64111. (See www.waltbodine.com for details.)