Morgan P. Bodie Jr., 81, insurance claims agent

December 15, 2003|By Gus G. Sentementes | Gus G. Sentementes,SUN STAFF

Morgan P. Bodie Jr., a World War II veteran who received the Purple Heart and went on to become a claims agent for Lloyd's of London in Baltimore, died on Dec. 8 from a heart attack after a year-long illness. He was 81 and lived in the Keswick neighborhood of Baltimore.

Mr. Bodie was born in Lexington, S.C., and raised in North Carolina. He graduated from The Citadel, a military college in South Carolina, in May 1942 and enlisted in the Army.

He fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and later, on March 18, 1945, was seriously injured by shrapnel from a grenade and was blinded in one eye.

After recovering from his injuries, Mr. Bodie attended graduate school, completing graduate work at what is now known as Thunderbird, the American Graduate School of International Management, in Glendale, Ariz.

Upon graduation, was hired by the Carman & Co. insurance claims firm in 1947 and moved to Baltimore. He met his wife, the former Sara Long, at a boardinghouse in Bolton Hill.

He rose to become the sole proprietor of the firm - which acted as a settlement agent for Lloyd's of London in the Baltimore area - in 1965 after owner Edward Carman died, family members said.

One of Mr. Bodie's daughters, Carolyn O'Keefe of Baltimore, said her father spent his working life in Baltimore and Washington surveying shipments and settling claims for the international insurer. Occasionally, her father would bring home exotic objects that had come from different parts of the world and were too damaged to sell, she said.

"Some things were beyond repair," Mrs. O'Keefe said yesterday. "He would bring home some real beat-up things."

His favorite find: a caseload of Guinness stout, which couldn't be sold because the labels had fallen off. "He was very pleased," she said.

Mr. Bodie sold the company in 1990, but he continued to work there until his retirement three years later.

Dr. Robert Bond Welch, a longtime friend of Mr. Bodie's who lived next door to him in Keswick, said he was an avid reader and chess player with a keen sense of humor.

"He always saw the humorous side of everything," he said.

"His intellect would come out in his humor," Mrs. O'Keefe said. "No cliches came out of his mouth. It was all fresh and funny and precise, and usually humorous."

A memorial service was held Friday at the Episcopal Cathedral of the Incarnation.

In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Bodie is survived by another daughter, Sara Foster of Cockeysville; a son, Morgan P. Bodie III of Dallas; two sisters, Margueritte Gilkey of Marion, N.C., and Carolyn Luzier of Sarasota, Fla.; and four grandchildren.

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