Barbara Higgins Bodwell

Posted Oct. 16, 2012, at 8:05 p.m.

ORONO – Barbara Higgins Bodwell, 89, passed away Oct. 15, 2012, at her home in Orono. She was born July 20, 1923, in Arlington, Mass., the daughter of Royal G. Higgins Jr. and Alma (Anderson) Higgins.

Barbara graduated from Springfield Classical High School, Springfield, Mass., in 1941, and graduated Phi Kappa Phi with a bachelor’s degree in clothing design from the University of Maine in 1945. Barbara was the business manager of the Maine Campus newspaper and editor of the Prism, the college yearbook in 1945. She served as a senior resident in Colvin Hall. Her senior year she was elected to All Maine Women. She was a member of Alpha Omicron Pi sorority. She was a member of the Masque student theater group, where she worked on costume design. Upon graduation she worked in merchandising at G. Fox, a department store in Hartford, Conn. She married Russell Bodwell in March 1946, and returned to the University of Maine while he finished his degree and graduate work. While he was studying she worked at Fogler Library cataloging graduate degree theses and assisted Professor Musgrave in clothing design. Barbara was a housewife and raised three children. She was president of the PTA in Florham Park, N.J., and served as vice president of the Morris County PTA. She advised the youth group at Madison Presbyterian Church. After moving to Glen Head, N.Y., Barbara was active in the Nassau County Women’s Division of the Salvation Army, serving four years as president and serving simultaneously for more than 20 years on the men’s and women’s board of directors. She served as an elder in the Presbyterian Church in Glenwood Landing. She was a member of the New England Women Society, serving as president of the Long Island Chapter and page at their annual conferences. Barbara was a lifelong supporter of the University of Maine, often serving as a class officer. She was the recipient with her husband, Russell, of the Block M Award for outstanding services through the Alumni Association of the University of Maine. Barbara sponsored the Barbara Bodwell Volunteer Center at the university. In addition, she and her husband received the highest achievable award, the Stillwater Presidential Award from the University of Maine in 2010. Barbara did not learn to drive until she was in her 30s, but was soon busy carpooling kids and neighbors to soccer, baseball, swimming and numerous afterschool activities. She spent many hours using her creative talents with the ladies of the church and the Salvation Army working on crafts for the annual crafts fairs for both groups. She was a generous hostess throughout her life. Everyone was a welcome guest in her home. She was well known for her parties, from birthday parties for the whole neighborhood to theme parties, and even the neighborhood lobster bake. On the family month long vacation to Maine, the first week was spent filling the freezer with baked food and goodies so the remainder of the vacation could be spent hosting family, friends, business associates and especially classmates.

She was predeceased by her parents, Royal G. and Alma G. Higgins. Surviving in addition of her beloved husband of 66 years, Russell, are her sister, Mary Vernon of West Covina, Calif.; daughter, Susan Willis and husband, Bill, of Storrs, Conn.; daughter, Joanne Ferreira and husband, Eugene, of Myrtle Beach, S.C.; son, William Bodwell and wife, Nancy, of Long Valley, N.J.; grandchildren, Kristin Whittaker and husband, Timothy, of Middletown, Conn., Matthew Bodwell and wife, Kristy, of Lewiston, Michael Ferreira and wife, Kelly, of Atlanta, Kristin Haines and husband, Jessie, of Bridgewater, N.J., David Bodwell of Long Valley, N.J., and Benjamin Willis of Storrs, Conn.; and great-grandchildren, Evan and Teagan Whittaker and Danica Ferreira.

Relatives and friends are welcome to support the family 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, at Brookings-Smith, 133 Center St., Bangor, where a funeral service will be held 11:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 19, with the Rev. Lorna Grenfell officiating. The family invites relatives and friends to share conversation and refreshments at the Family Reception Center of Brookings-Smith, 163 Center St., Bangor, after the service. Interment will be afterward at Ledgelawn Cemetery, Bar Harbor. In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to the University of Maine Foundation, Two Alumni Place, Orono, ME 04469.

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