Soldier Spotlight: Francis “Graham” Bodeker

Image: Graham Bodeker home on leave – shown with his wife Eunice and two daughters Frances and Phyllis, ca. 1942 (SPRA 175.083.05)

Graham Bodeker was born in South Fort George BC (which is now Prince George) on June 28, 1913. His parents were Peter George Bendix (Ben) and Lutie Bodeker, and he had two younger siblings, Betty and Gordon. As a two and a half year old child, his family moved to the BC Peace Country, and canoed from Finlay Forks to Hudson Hope. They then moved to Dunvegan and Spirit River AB where Ben was the last factor in the Hudson Bay Company posts. Moving to Sturgeon Lake in the early 1920’s, Ben was transferred to another HBC post, while the children attended a mission school. By 1931 the family settled in the Valleyview area. Graham’s first job as a teenager was trucking freight to Grande Prairie. Other jobs included trapping, grader operator, carpentry, and sawmill work.

On March 9, 1937 Graham married Eunice Stenseth in High Prairie, and they settled on their own homestead south of Valleyview in 1940. They had 3 daughters: Frances, Phyllis and Beverly, and one infant son, Gilbert, who died. In the mid 1940’s, Graham served in the Royal Canadian Navy and was stationed in Halifax NS for two years. From 1952 to 1978 he worked in oilfields, first for Cantex Drilling, and, since 1957, for Amerada Petroleum. Eunice and Graham operated the Eaglesham, and Fox Creek golf courses for a few years, before retiring. Active in many sports and activities, Graham especially enjoyed swimming, ice-skating, and golf. He was a member of the Royal Canadian Legion in Valleyview, and served on the town council. At the age of 93, Graham died in the Valleyview Hospital on October 3, 2005.

Source: SPRA Family and Personal Life Reference Files (including obituary)
Where the Red Willow Grew pp. 50 – 54
Photo pp. 51 and 52

Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.

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