Obituary of Peter Bodnar Jr., former US Air Force Captain

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McHoul Funeral Home in Hopewell Junction, NY.

Peter W. Bodnar, Jr., 74, a 35 year resident of LaGrange, NY, passed at home on April 11, 2021, surrounded by his family.

Born on October 12, 1946, in Yonkers, NY, Peter is the oldest child of the late Peter W., Sr, and Evelyn F. (McCready) Bodnar of Garden City South, LI. He was raised at their family home on Long Island. He attended both Fordham Preparatory School and Fordham University in Bronx, NY. He participated in R.O.T.C and was a member of the Arnold Air Society. While at Fordham, he met and married his first wife, Frances Mathews, who predeceased him in 1991.

Peter went on to proudly serve our country in the United States Air Force as a member of the Civil Engineer Management Evaluation Team. Traveling the country to every Air Force Base, the efficiency team saved the Air Force over $100 million. He obtained the rank of Captain while serving in Louisiana and Michigan.

After being honorably discharged from the Air Force, he and Fran moved to Middletown, NY where they began their family. He served on the Fair View Oaks Ambulance Corps, and worked as an auditor for Peat Marwick Mitchell, after getting his MBA from Pace University.

Peter’s life was built on a foundation of love, faith in God, and deep respect for others. These pillars he taught his children by example in the way he lived his life.

Peter Bodnar Jr.

Peter and Fran moved the family to Chappaqua, NY, where he worked at Reader’s Digest as the Associate Director of Administrative Services in charge of International Protective Services. He is in the Who’s Who of America for Security Administration and a member of the American Legion. He was involved as a Cubmaster for Cub Scout Pack 2 in Chappaqua, where he was also president of the local Lions Club, and a 4th Degree member of the Knights of Columbus Council #1852. Ever the involved Father, Peter coached many of his children’s sports teams, including baseball and basketball.

In 1986, they built the family home in LaGrange, NY. During this time, Peter’s youngest son, Gregory, participated in Boy Scouts. Peter was very active as a leader in the Boy Scouts of America serving as Scout Commissioner of Troop 82.

A few years later, Peter would suffer a week of losses that would have killed a less faithful person. His strength of character and faith during this time inspires his family to this day.

His position at Reader’s Digest was downsized, and he was laid off. Two days later on August 9, 1991, Fran and his youngest son, Greg (11y.o. at the time of his death) were killed in a traffic collision. His oldest son, Peter W. III, and oldest daughter, Elena Michelle, were also injured in the collision. He, and their younger daughter, Krista-Lynn, waited for them to come home, only to be greeted by NYS Troopers with horrible news. Two days after that, his vehicle was stolen while he was visiting Elena at the hospital in NYC. Within a week, he lost his wife, son, job, and both the family’s vehicles.

Yet, his faith endured.

It was the one thing he didn’t lose that week. As his name implies, he was the rock the family depended on, and he depended on his faith in God.

Peter would become the safety coordinator at St. Francis Hospital where he worked for 17 years. He married his second wife, Joann Mize, and traveled the world with her. They enjoyed many years together, until she lost her own battle with cancer in 2005.

Again, Peter’s faith endured.

Peter was an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist at St. Kateri Church in LaGrangeville, NY, where he was also a member of the choir, and a member of the Knights of Columbus Council #13378.

He was an avid reader of thrillers and political biographies and appreciated the elegance in simplicity as a very talented amateur photographer. Peter leaves a legacy rich with integrity and a love of nature.

On June 22, 2011, at St. Kateri, Peter married Deborah “Debbie” Lane who survives at home. They spent their time, traveling, growing their garden, singing in the choir and taking care of their grandkids, who lovingly called them Papa and Gaga.

During the last weeks of his life, Debbie was the rock he depended on to take care of him, and his family is grateful he found such an amazing person to love, and share these past years together.

Most people struggle to find one amazing love of their life, Peter was blessed with three.

His faith endured.

Peter was the glue that held all these people together and made them a family. He was a true patriot and loved his country. He was a devout Catholic. That, he said, was the glue that kept him together.

He treasured his home and was a loving father to his 4 children, 3 step-children, grandfather to his 18 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren who all lovingly called him Papa.

In addition to his loving wife, Debbie, Peter is survived by his loving children and their spouses, Elena Michelle and Scott Seaman of Wappingers Falls, Peter W. III and Karen Bodnar of Lagrange, NY, Krista-Lynn and Michael Brennan of LaGrange, NY, and Noelle and Theo Beale of Mt Vernon, NY, Lisa and Skip Mackay of Mahopac, NY, and Donnie and Lauren Peters of Yorktown Heights, NY; his siblings, Edward Bodnar of FL, John and Sue Bodnar of South Setauket, Patrick Bodnar, Sr. of Garden City South, and Lynne Rose of Garden City South; and many loving grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins. He is predeceased by his first wife, Fran Bodnar and their son Greg in 1991; his second wife, Joann M. Bodnar in 2005.

Calling hours will be held on Friday from 5-8 pm at the McHoul Funeral Home, Inc., 895 Route 82, Hopewell Junction with military honors at 8 pm. The Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday at 11:30 am at St. Kateri where he was a parishioner.

Memorial donations may be made to Hudson Valley Hospice.