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Father John Boddie dies at age 50

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Father John Derrick Boddie
John Derrick Boddie, 50, the priest and beloved pastor of the Catholic Church of the Visitation in Middlesex County and the Catholic Church of Francis De Sales in Mathews County of the Diocese of Richmond, passed away in the early evening hours of Tuesday, May 19, from cancer.

Father Boddie, the son of James Boddie and Ernestine Henderson, was born July 11, 1958 in Newport News as the third of nine children. He was raised by his grandmother, Esther Boddie, who introduced him to the Catholic religion by taking him to St. Alphonsus Church in Newport News, which later merged with St. Vincent De Paul.

Upon his graduation from Peninsula Catholic High School in 1977, he attended St. Meinrads College in Indiana for pre-seminary work. From there, he entered St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore in 1983.

He was ordained on May 14, 1988 and initially assigned to Our Lady of Nazareth Parish in Roanoke as an Assistant Priest. From there he served at St. Paul’s in Richmond for two years as an Assistant Priest and subsequently was transferred to the Church of the Holy Spirit in Virginia Beach. 

After a sabbatical, in 1997 he became the pastor of the Catholic parishes in Middlesex and Mathews counties, where he has faithfully served the parishioners for almost 12 years. 

Stricken with cancer almost two years ago, he valiantly fought the disease while enrolled in an experimental program at Duke University until his untimely death just a few days after celebrating his 21st year as an ordained priest. 

He is survived by his parents; four sisters, Vanessa, Sharon, Leona and Anna Boddie; and three brothers, Michael, Kenneth, and Lonnie Boddie. One of his siblings, James Boddie, passed away several years ago. 

“Father John” was a brilliant homilist, often sought as a guest priest or speaker by other churches and denominations throughout the Middle Peninsula and Richmond communities.

Beloved by all, he was widely known for his care and concern for the sick and homebound, visiting them frequently and enlightening their lives by his presence. He extended his ministry to the regional jail with success and gratitude. Because of his endearing personality and the respect he displayed for the Sacraments of Baptism and Marriage, Catholics from parishes apart from his often requested he give those Sacraments to them. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in his name may be made to either one of his churches’ building funds.

Friends may pay their respects to Father Boddie at the Church of the Visitation at 8426 General Puller Highway (Route 33) in Topping from 3-5 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. on Friday, May 22. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated by His Excellency the Most Reverend Francis X. DiLorenzo, Bishop of Richmond, at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 23, at the Church of Francis De Sales at 176 Lover’s Lane in Mathews. 

Burial will immediately follow at the Church of the Visitation Cemetery in Middlesex.

posted 05.20.2009

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