Ralph Bodamer

Jan 03, 1920 - Sep 03, 2014

Ralph Bodamer

January 03, 1920 - September 03, 2014


Ralph Bodamer Jr., 94, passed away on Wednesday, September 3, 2014 at Bethany Home in Dubuque, Iowa. He will be laid to rest with Military Honors at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Illinois. Services are being planned and will be announced.

A veteran of WWII, Ralph volunteered in 1942 to serve in the U. S. Army; he fought bravely in the North Africa, Sicily, Rhineland, Central European and Rome Arno Campaigns. He was rightfully proud of his service to his country, though he spoke little of it until very late in life. Those who had the good fortune to be near him in his later years learned that he coped with the stresses of war by memorizing the songs and poetry of the era, which he regularly shared with delight until shortly before he passed away.

After the war, Ralphs boyhood interest in the animal world blossomed into a long career caring for animals. He began by working in Chicago-area pet shops and by running a shop of his own in the mid-1950s. During that time he developed a passion for all things aquatic, especially salt water and fresh water tropical fish. That interest led him to Chicagos Shedd Aquarium where he retired as a Senior Aquarist after over 25 years of service caring for tropical fish, and assisting in the collection of exotic species from far-away places. In his retirement years, Ralph most enjoyed travelling to visit family, friends and aquariums from Yugoslavia to California.

Ralph Bodamer was born Jan. 3, 1920 in Chicago, Illinois to Ralph and Edith (Bloom) Bodamer. He was preceded in death by his parents and his sisters, Ruth Bodamer Gibson of Murfreesboro, TN and Grace Christine Flynn of Sherman Oaks, CA.

He is survived by nephews Michael Scott (Deborah) Haines of Box Elder, SD and Parry Todd Haines of Washington, DC; niece Sharon (John) Wells of Murfreesboro, TN; five loving grand-nephews/nieces and their descendants. He is also survived by his extended family of friends and children who knew and loved him as their adopted Uncle Ralph. His light will be sorely missed by so many.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent in Ralph Bodamers name to Bethany Home, 1005 Lincoln Avenue, Dubuque, IA 52001 and Hospice of Dubuque, 1670 JFK Road, Dubuque, IA 52002.


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