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A lesson in serviceA lesson in service

David kept fighting because he long ago learned to work hard to make a good life, well enough post-diagnosis to see the birth of two granddaughters.

Pam Caraway

October 5, 2023

2 Min Read
David Boddiford
David Boddiford, owner of Boddiford Farm Services, was always working.Courtesy of the Boddiford family

The photo on the funeral program showed a smiling fellow wearing a company shirt with his name on it.

Because that’s how folks best recognized David Boddiford. The owner of Boddiford Farm Services – the logo on the left pocket of that shirt – was always working. And that quiet smile? That was the window to a generous Christian heart.

David’s life defied the idea of work/life balance. His family knew him – and knew him well. No Jim Croce songs for Deborah, his wife of 42 years, or sons Andrew and Eric. His church family and nearly everybody else in town also enjoyed their time with him.

During the 4½ hours that people slowly snaked through Sylvania First United Methodist Church on the eve of his funeral service, family and friends relived old memories and laughed at newly told stories.

Cousins Roger and Henrilyn Cleland know one thing for certain: rarely do you find “near genius and a strong work ethic” in the same human. The consensus in my section of the two-hour visitation line was that our friend was smart, caring and hardworking. Hardly words that differentiate. It was the level to which David took his brains and service to others that wrote his legend.

David fought liposarcoma for seven years before he died, often taking work calls from his hospital bed.

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“Boddifords don’t retire. They just die,” Eric Boddiford, David’s younger son remembered his father saying.

Eric figures the family business was the world’s dirtiest barber shop. It’s where a boy learned “a whole new vocabulary” from a dad who never cursed at home. As barbershops once were, Farm Services was the center of a community and David was the mayor.

After selling Boddiford Farm Services to his nephew Knapp in 2022, David still ruled from a recliner behind the counter.

In his life, David was a teacher. His farming brother Joe Boddiford shared at the service that a lifetime of working side-by-side on forts and farm equipment made the brothers “jacks of all trades and masters of several.” Throughout his days, David taught others what the brothers had learned.

In his final years, Rev. Dorsia Atkinson said, David continued to teach by example. Though Atkinson borrowed Boddiford’s grease-stained Bible to find words to comfort those gathered, he ultimately found that wisdom in David’s final years.

David didn’t retire because he was already doing what he loved.

He didn’t question God because faith lived at his core.

He kept fighting because he long ago learned to work hard to make a good life. And he fought well enough post-diagnosis to see the birth of two granddaughters.

Albert Schweitzer said: “The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.”

For those who believe Schweitzer, David Boddiford died a happy man.

And blessed us all with his final lesson.

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