Eleanor Bodle of Clearfield was named Woman of the Year for her faithful service to her church and community at a dinner banquet Thursday evening.
She was nominated and then chosen to receive the award by members of the Clearfield Business & Professional Women’s Club. The club has given the award annually since 1944.
She’s married to Ronald Bodle, and they have two adult children, Ken and Mark; four grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. She’s a member of the West Side United Methodist Church.
The guest speaker was Eleanor’s son, Ken, whom was asked to share about her life of service, which for him had three very distinct phases – family, nursing and retirement.
He said his mom worked her shifts at the Clearfield Hospital and raised two, young children at home. She was also a devoted confidant for her sisters.
Growing up he said his dad was active in the Jaycees and Elks; was on borough council; was a baseball coach; and once ran a political campaign. And his mom was always supportive.
“… She served her family and she served her community,” Ken said, “because strong families are one of the foundations for a strong community. Her service really started at home.”
Her next phase of service was 38 years as a nurse at the Clearfield Hospital. Over the years, Ken said he’s had countless people share about the wonderful care received from his mom.
He recalled a conversation with Dr. Nathaniel Yingling, who told him: ‘… Nursing is an art,’ and that my mom was a ‘master of the art of nursing.’
“She was a ‘Rembrandt’ of nursing and her ‘canvas’ was the patients that she served and the staff that she mentored.”
When she retired from the hospital in 1998, she began her third phase of service, which Ken called an extension of her nursing career.
She was a hospice and American Red Cross volunteer. She was a board member and president of the Clearfield Hospital School of Nursing Alumni Association.
But retirement is also where Ken saw his mom truly “blossom” in her service of others, and he said it all began after she took a Disciple Bible class at church.
She laid the path for the church’s Parish Nurses; its Shawl Ministry, even though she doesn’t knit or crochet and “can’t sew a button on”; and its “home communion” and visitation ministry.
Because of her active role within the church’s United Methodist Women group, she was chosen as its Woman of the Year in 2000. She was president of UMW from 2010 to 2013.
She served on volunteer missions in Engelhard, N.C., and then in Mississippi after it was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Over the years, Eleanor has also assisted with children’s ministries such as Vacation Bible School and Block Parties. She’s belonged to the weekly prayer group and taught adult Sunday school.
“As she matured in her faith, she became less about service, and she became more about being a servant of Jesus Christ,” Ken said. “… My mom is motivated by love.
“She’s motivated by the love of God for her, her love for God and as a result her love for others. She’s not motivated to receive awards … but here we are because she loves.”
He summed up his mom’s service as taking care of “the one,” whether it was the one patient, being friends with the one kid at VBS or spending time in special prayer for the one person.
“She’s always been concerned with the one. Communities are built by taking care of the one. Lives are changed by taking care of the one. And that’s been my mom’s life of service.”
Eleanor’s pastor Dr. Joleen Willis gave the invocation and benediction. Brenda Weber sang four hymns including one of Eleanor’s favorite’s “Blessed Assurance.”
As she closed with “Well Done,” Weber commented: “As Christians, we live life to serve God … with the goal to stand in His presence and hear Him say, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.’”