ROCKLAND — William Warden Bodine III, born February 29, 1948 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, died peacefully on April 30, 2021 of congestive heart failure at the home he shared with his friend, Brian Harden, in Rockland, Maine.
Known locally as “Warren,” he was the eldest son of William W. Bodine, Jr. and Louise Dilworth Bodine. He grew up in Villanova, Pennsylvania and attended Episcopal Academy in Malvern, Pennsylvania, and the Westminster School in Simsbury, Connecticut, where he played football and hockey, and sang in the glee club. He graduated from Westminster in 1966 where he was admired by his classmates, many of whom remained lifelong friends.
In 1969, after his second year at Lake Forest College, in Illinois, Warren entered the United States Army and completed the Infantry Noncommissioned Officer Candidate Course before being assigned as a sergeant to combat forces in Vietnam. A year later he received the Bronze Star with First Oak Leaf Cluster for helping to save the life of his commanding officer, then Captain, now retired, General Wesley K. Clark in battle. Later that same year Warren received a near fatal wound to the head and was awarded the Purple Heart for his service to his country.
After the war, Warren settled in Rockland, Maine where he became an active and much respected member of the community. In 1978, he bought the local independent bookstore, The Reading Corner, and the following year expanded the business by moving it across the street from its original location where it remained a vital part of the downtown shopping district for almost 40 years. Warren loved his staff and customers at The Reading Corner, and his business is often credited with leading the 1980s revival of downtown Rockland.
Warren’s longtime housemate, friend, and bookstore manager Brian Harden remembers the store being “remarkably well stocked by Warren who always bought too much for the budget… but the customers loved it. He also refused to cut hours or lay off staff when business was slow, knowing that they depended on him for their employment.” The store was famous for its children’s room, run for many years by Nancy Bryant, and for the innovative window displays created by Gail Cooke and the staff. Warren and Brian co-ran The Reading Corner and stayed active in the Downtown Rockland Association until Warren closed the store and retired in 2015. He later sold the building to Loyal Biscuit Co.
For years, Warren has contributed his time, talent and treasure to the Rockland community. He served on Rockland’s Economic Development Committee, on the Public Works Advisory Committee, and spent 20 years on the Rockland Planning Board where he will remembered for his judiciousness and attention to detail when reviewing plans for new projects. Shortly after moving to Maine he joined the Rockland Area Jaycees and served for two years as president, as well as on the board of the Maine Lobster Festival. Warren was also involved in the reform of Rockland’s local health care system in the 1980s and in the successful effort to save the Knox Center nursing facility from closure. He supported Rockland’s local Chamber of Commerce and received multiple awards for his many contributions to his cherished adopted hometown.
Perhaps most personally rewarding was Warren’s longtime involvement in the Rockland Historical Society where he was a founding member and served for many years on its Board and as Treasurer. He helped the Society’s landmark effort to purchase and restore the birthplace of Edna St. Vincent Millay, and to set it up as an independent non-profit for the enjoyment of future generations. At the time of his death, Warren was a director of the Society and a trustee of the Rockland History Trust. In addition to his many projects in and around Rockland, Warren loved renovating and updating the house he shared with his longtime friend and housemate Brian Harden, who was his kind and compassionate caregiver at the end of his life.
Warren will be remembered by all who knew him as a person of character and commitment. He was incredibly generous, humble, and kind, and the warmth, humor, and good company he brought to every room will be
Warren was predeceased by his parents and by his beloved younger sister, Barbara, as well as his favorite aunt, Elizabeth Dilworth.
He is survived by his brother, Lawrence Dilworth Bodine and his wife Barbara of Ambler, Pennsylvania; their daughters, Blair Bodine, Chase Bodine Taylor and her husband Ryan; his sister Anne Bodine Cresci and her husband Joseph of Stowe, Vermont and Miami, Florida; as well as Anne’s son, Shawn Titcomb and his family; and by his friend Brian Harden.
Family and friends are invited to visit Friday, May 14, 2021, from 6 to 8 p.m., at Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock Street, Rockland.
A funeral service will be held Saturday, May 15, 2021, at 2 p.m., at the Rockland Congregational Church, 180 Limerock Street, Rockland. The Reverend Seth Jones will officiate. All are invited, but please wear masks and practice social distancing. The service will be broadcast via zoom. For details please call the church at 207-594-8656 on Thursday May 13, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Burial will follow at Achorn Cemetery. Because of the COVID-19 virus there will be no reception.
Those who wish are encouraged to contribute in Warren’s name to the Rockland Historical Society, PO Box 1331, Rockland, Maine 04841.
To share a memory or condolence please visit Warren’s Book of Memories at www.bchfh.com.