A beloved sister, aunt, cousin, niece, companion and friend, Rebecca Sarah Bodwell, 44, left this world unexpectedly on July 15, 2020. Born in Waterville, Maine on August 29, 1975, daughter to Arthur and Gail (Alcorn) Bodwell, Becky grew up in Gray, Maine with her four sisters: Carrie, Robyn, Bethany and Paige. For Becky, her childhood held a sense of magic and she was proud of her Bodwell upbringing. She had many happy memories of playing with her sisters and neighborhood friends for hours at a time. She loved making forts in the backyard, climbing trees, participating in the town rec programs, playing softball, basketball as well as soccer, and swimming in Crystal Lake. Becky’s world and her circle of friends expanded as she grew older, but there were a few things that never changed: Following in the footsteps of her father, she was a passionate fan of the New England Patriots; she was a proud small town girl and a member of “Gray Nation”; and she cherished her family and friends.
After graduating from Gray-New Gloucester High School (1993) and the University of New England (1997: Environmental Studies), Becky's first career venture was two seasons as a Preserve Management and Prescribed Burn Crew Member in the Nature Conservancy’s Eastern New York Chapter in the Albany Pine Bush Preserve. She thoroughly enjoyed this experience and felt a deep connection to their mission of saving the Karner blue butterfly. Following this, she changed her career path to access her innate skills in supporting transition-aged students who were finding their feet. She had a knack for it. She began working at Portland High School as a JMG Job Specialist. She greatly impacted the lives of numerous students, many of whom have reached out following her death to share what her dedication meant to them. “One of the sweetest, most thoughtful, caring, funny, genuine people who I have been blessed to have met in my life,” said one. “You left imprints in so many of our young lives and helped mentor us to be the successful adults we are today.” After a decade, Becky made another move, shifting to a position as a Job Coach for Maine Medical Center, Department of Vocational Services and continued for several years as an Employment Specialist. There she worked with people with various disabilities and former addicts, supporting them as they transitioned into the workplace. As her experience, knowledge, and skill set grew she became a supervisor of the Aspire Vocational Assessment Project working to train and support others in this important work. She briefly left MMC and worked as a Regional Director for Fedcap Rehabilitation Inc. There she was responsible for leading, planning and executing the region’s operations and execution of temporary assistance for needy families contracts. She returned to Maine Medical Center as an Operations Manager where she worked to oversee and supervise staff in a variety of capacities. Recently, she opted to change her focus again, wanting to work in a more physical line of employment. She began learning odds and ends of building construction and took on a job as a Press Operator at Wise Business Forms, which is where she was most recently employed.
Becky was a person who loved unconditionally and with her whole heart. Everyone who had the privilege to know her couldn’t help but love her right back. Whether a student, colleague, family member or friend, Becky loved unconditionally and supported those she cared for, never expecting anything in return and without regard for circumstance. Whether you were a student, colleague, family member, or friend, Becky would have your back. She always found something to love in every person she met, genuinely and authentically. No matter how much time passed, she would greet you with a smile and a hug, eager to hear how you were and what you were doing. She ended nearly every conversation with “I love you,” and if she said that, she meant it. Becky’s smile was contagious and she loved to laugh.
Becky was fun, spontaneous, non-judgmental, generous and always up for adventure. It isn’t a surprise that she was regarded by her nieces and nephew as the “Favorite Aunt” or that they never stopped looking forward to seeing their Aunt Becca with her contagious smile, crowing laughter, and tendency for rambunctious cheerleading. She made them feel loved, important, and special. She enjoyed spoiling them and there was never a family gathering where Becky did not have children of all ages hanging on her every word -- or literally hanging onto her as if she were a tree whose boughs were guaranteed not to break. The truth is she was everyone’s “Favorite Aunt” whether you were a child or an adult and regardless of whether she was related to you or not. Wherever she went, Becky seemed to bring joy and happy energy along for the ride.
She wasn’t always happy and that’s the hard truth of it. The untimely death of her parents and the intense grief that followed created a painful and irreparable hole in her heart which served as a catalyst to greater and greater dependence. She loved with her whole heart and was so skilled at spreading her love to others, but struggled to handle her own heartbreak and sadness. Becky wanted to overcome her alcoholism and tried several times, but ultimately her body gave out. She knew she was loved and supported by an army of family and friends, but this was a personal battle. She would never want anyone to feel responsible for her illness or her death or suffer from any guilt. When you think of Becky, don’t recall her with sadness, but celebrate the unforgettable memories that you have of her, her beautiful smile and of the love that she gave.
Becky is mourned by her sisters Carrie Brennan of Belgrade, Maine; Robyn Hillard of Southbridge, Massachusetts; Bethany Bodwell of Westbrook, Maine and Paige Sanborn of Yarmouth, Maine as well as her brothers-in-law, Patrick Brennan and Keith Hillard. She will also be forever remembered by her beloved nieces and nephew: Avery and Alexa Brennan; Mikayla, Ethan and Addison Hillard, Cassidy Parks, and Molly Sanborn. As mentioned, Becky was predeceased by her parents, W. Arthur Bodwell and Gail (Alcorn) Bodwell. Becky will also be missed by countless others, including, many aunts, uncles, cousins, Gray Nation, countless other friends, her special companion, Anthony Velazquez, and her beloved cat, “BeBe.”
Memories and condolences can be shared on the obituary page of the funeral home website at https://www.wilsonfhllc.com/
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in Rebecca Bodwell’s name to Gray-New Gloucester Little League for a future project at the softball field behind Newbegin Hall in Gray that will be dedicated to Becky. She grew up playing softball and the complex is currently home to her father’s memorial scoreboard.
Contributions can be sent to GNGLL, P.O. Box 1236, Gray, ME 04039
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