Robert A. Bodkin, 86, Was Veteran, Educator

Robert A. Bodkin of Oak Bluffs, educator and headmaster, died Tuesday, Dec. 30, under Hospice care. He was 86.

Mr. Bodkin was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., the son of the late Robert A. and Gertrude (Heidenheim) Bodkin. He grew up in Maplewood, N.J., where the family moved after his father died. He was a graduate of St. James School, Maryland, and Trinity College and held his MA from Columbia University. He was a veteran of World War II, serving with the fifth and seventh armies in Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and Germany. After the war Mr. Bodkin became a copywriter for an industrial advertising company in New York.

In 1947 he married Cornelia E. Watson and they decided to leave business and follow a long-held interest in boarding school teaching and administration. During a nine-year period he taught at two day schools, a high school, adult education and reading courses at NYU. In 1956 Mr. and Mrs. Bodkin and their partners, Ian and Betty Hanna, founded the Maplewood School in Cornwall, Conn., where he served as headmaster for 25 years.

After retirement Mr. Bodkin taught for the Nathan Mayhew Seminars in Vineyard Haven, leading courses in reading and English. He was an original member of the blue ribbon committee in Oak Bluffs, vice president of the W.H. Hart Realty Co., and served two terms as the president of the Hart Haven Community Association. He was a member of the Headmasters Association, U.S. Lacrosse and the Alpha Delta Phi.

Mr. Bodkin leaves his wife, Cornelia, of Oak Bluffs.

A memorial service will be held at St. Andrew's Church in Edgartown at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 10. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to Maplewood School, P.O. Box 3001, Kent, CT 06757-3001. Arrangements are under the care of the Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home in Oak Bluffs.