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Deaths: Gordon Bodek, Emeritus Trustee
September 21, 2010, Volume 57, No. 04


Emeritus Trustee Gordon Bodek, C’42 died in Los Angeles on September 10 at the age of 89.

He was a highly visible advocate for Penn on the West Coast. Over the years, he served as president of the University of Pennsylvania Club of Southern California, chair of the California Development Committee, a director of the Southern California Regional Advisory Board, a member of the Board of Advisors of the Wharton Club of Los Angeles, and a member of the Alumni Club of Southern California.

He was appointed to the Board of Trustees in 1978. He participated on the Development, External Affairs, Facilities and Campus Planning, and Student Life Committees. He also served as an Overseer for both SAS and GSE. In 1986, his extraordinary service to the University was recognized with the Alumni Award of Merit.

In addition to devoting his time on behalf of Penn, he provided generous financial support. He and his wife established the Gordon and Muriel Bodek Gift Annuity for student financial aid, as well as the Gordon and Muriel Bodek Scholarship and the Bessie and Harry Bodek Scholarship, both in the SAS. At the Library, the Bodeks created the Muriel Pfaelzer Bodek Lecture and named the Bessie and Harry Bodek Music Room in honor of his parents. They endowed the Gordon S. Bodek Lecture of Distinguished Educators in GSE and provided support for Athletics and the School of Nursing, as well as a number of other programs. Their family named Bodek Lounge in Houston Hall.

As a Penn student, Mr. Bodek was a member of the Mask and Wig Club and played lacrosse; he graduated cum laude in 1942.

During WWII, Mr. Bodek served as a U.S. Navy pilot. He held various commands and was awarded The Air Medal and a British Citation for Service as Officer in Charge of a U.S. Navy Squadron detachment on the island of Malta.

He devoted his professional life to Bobrick Washroom Equipment, Inc., an international manufacturer of washroom accessories for commercial construction, from which he retired as president. He joined the firm’s sales division in 1948 and helped broaden its reach into the commercial building market. He became president in 1970 and led the company through a significant expansion of its product line. In 1984, the International Sanitary Supply Association honored him with the Industry Distinguished Service Award for his many achievements.

He was vice president of the Los Angeles Natural History Museum Alliance, vice chairman of the Budget Division of the United Way, and a member of the Executive Board of the Los Angeles chapter of the American Jewish Committee. In 1985, he was presented with the Humanitarian Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews.

Mr. Bodek is survived by his wife, Muriel, his son, Hanley, ’C77, his daughters, Marnie and Janna, their husbands, Ed Moss and Jim Harris and his seven grandchildren, Mason, Harry, Emma, Blair, Jake, Will and Kamber.

In lieu of flowers, contibutions may be made to The University of Pennsylvania.

Almanac - September 21, 2010, Volume 57, No. 04