Elaine Mae Bodnar, 91, passed away peacefully at the Masonicare Health Center in Wallingford on Friday, July 6. As we expected, she waited for a moment when none of us were there to make her final exit.
Born in Bridgeport on May 24, 1927, Elaine was the youngest child of Steven and Margaret (Soltesz) Bodnar. She was predeceased by her parents, and by siblings Robert Bodnar, Margaret (Bodnar) Allen, Grace (Bodnar) Meyn, Stephen Bodnar and Len Bodnar. Although Elaine did not marry or have children, she spent 70 years of her life taking care of others, and advising, supporting, and doting on three generations of nieces and nephews:
Niece Peggy (Allen) Conner (Al), great-nephew Kyle Conner, great-nephew Chris Conner (Carla), and great-great-niece Cadence; nephew Stephen Allen (Elaine), great-niece Andrea (Allen) Jordan (Chris), great-niece Jessica (Allen) Soubotin (Mike), great-great nephew Caleb and great-great-niece Saki; niece Robin Senese (Pat); nephew Gary Meyn (Liz); niece Julie (Bodnar) Roberge (Richard), great-niece Elizabeth and great-nephew Andrew; nephew Christopher Bodnar (Christine); and niece Patricia Bodnar.
She was our beloved auntie, a lynchpin of our family, and her presence at holiday celebrations, birthday parties, and simply spending time will be very much missed.
Elaine grew up in the Fort Trumbull Beach neighborhood of Milford, and remained a “beach brat” at heart for her entire life. She attended Milford public schools, and went on to earn an A. A. in Arts from the Junior College of Connecticut, and a B. S. in Business Administration and M. A. in Education from the University of Bridgeport. Elaine’s work history ran the gamut from family employment at the iconic Fort Trumbull “pink bakery,” to a stint in the world of New York City retail, to her ultimate career in the world of educational administration. She served as Director of Financial Aid at the University of Bridgeport, Greater Hartford Community College, and Housatonic Community College.
Our Aunt Elaine was an extremely intelligent, independent, strong woman before it was fashionable for women to be those things. She set an enviable example, not only for us, but also for any who had the good fortune to know her, whether socially or professionally. Her personal mementos include multiple letters detailing colleagues’ respect for her knowledge and commitment to students. What stood out, though, was her “personal warmth…Elaine cares about students.” We are, and always have been, so very proud of her.
Elaine retired from professional employment in 1991, but remained active as a volunteer at the Audubon Society in Milford. She loved to travel, and enjoyed spending time in Rome, Budapest, Alaska, Florida, and on various Caribbean islands. After relocating to Ashlar Village in Wallingford, where she resided happily for the last fifteen years of her life, she enjoyed an active social life with a group of close and wonderful friends, and was an Ashlar volunteer and an enthusiastic member of the long-standing Trivial Pursuit club until shortly before her final illness. Her silly Halloween and New Year’s Eve get-ups were prize-winning, and her life-long reputation for being the life of the party and the best hostess ever was never better exemplified. Although we always knew Aunt Elaine could be entertaining, and loved a good laugh, we were surprised to learn that, in high school, she was known as “Bod,” and was named “wittiest” girl in her graduating class. Apparently, she provided almost constant entertainment for her classmates, especially in “hilarious” Spanish class.
Elaine loved animals, particularly cats, and we’re sure she’s now reunited with her adoring Juliet, along with the many strays who never would have survived without her care, and her adorable little dog Happy. She patronized many charities, but the two closest to her heart were the Audubon Society (she volunteered in Milford for many years) and the Humane Society. Honoring Elaine’s memory by making a charitable donation of any kind to any charity at all would very much please her.
Finally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge that the Bodnars have always been a stubbornly tough lot—hardworking and perseverant no matter what the challenges, yet devoted to family, loving, and always ready to lend a hand, no matter what the need. Aunt Elaine exemplified these traits, and we hope to do her memory justice by carrying them forward as best we’re able. We all thank her, so very much, for everything.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday, July 12, 2018 at 11 a.m. at St. Mary Church, 70 Gulf St., Milford, CT (MEET DIRECTLY AT CHURCH). Interment will follow at St. Mary Cemetery, Buckingham Ave., Milford, CT. The family is being compassionately cared for by the Cody-White Funeral Home, 107 Broad St., Milford, CT. To leave online condolences, please visit our website at www.codywhitefuneralservice.com.