A Brief History of Jan Bodin's Life
Jan Bodin was born on March 20, 1953, in Youngstown, Ohio, as the second of four children in the Bodin family. Her siblings were Lynn, Michael, and Ann. Fate brought her together with me, Scott Miller, in November of 1979 when she worked as a chef at the Red Radish vegetarian restaurant in Kent, Ohio. Love blossomed for us quickly, and by January 1980, we had moved in together. On May 23, 1981, we exchanged vows and were married.
Jan pursued her passion for education, graduating summa cum laude with a major in French from Kent State University. Her teaching career led her to the Grinnell School System in Iowa, where her dramatic and unconventional teaching style earned her the endearing nickname of "Madame Crazy." Her proficiency in French was so remarkable that even native French tourists visiting Albuquerque once mistook her for a fellow countrywoman.
Jan's talents extended beyond languages; she possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of plants and could identify nearly every species she encountered. Local nursery-goers often sought her advice on their plant selections, leading to frequent exchanges. Her fluency in healthcare terminology also prompted professionals to inquire if she had a medical background. Her expertise extended to the world of cinema, as she could effortlessly recall the stars and directors of any movie. When it came to Trivial Pursuit's pop culture section, no one could outmatch her.
In 1992, we made the move to Iowa, residing first in Marshalltown and later in Ames. Although Jan's sisters lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, we visited them frequently during the holidays. In 2008, we decided to make Albuquerque our permanent home. Jan embraced retirement with enthusiasm, quickly adopting four cats, including two semi-feral ones. She built sprawling condos with connecting tunnels for her feline companions, and her lush gardens became a neighborhood treasure. Jan's horticultural talents even earned her an unsolicited garden award from the local Men's Garden Club.
Jan was a multi-talented artist, proficient in various mediums such as pencil, watercolor, painted birdhouses, collage magnets and assemblages. Her unique boxes filled with collected ephemera and designs are scattered throughout the country in the homes of her friends and family.
Jan's sense of humor was ever-present and unfailingly amusing. She had a distaste for formality, often finding the sight of waiters with cloths draped over their arms in fancy restaurants irresistibly comical. On the golf course, she couldn't suppress laughter when witnessing an errant shot, especially when playing with someone she had just met, which could be quite embarrassing. Traditional church services were not her cup of tea, as she once humorously pretended to follow along with an upside-down hymnal during a Christmas Eve service.
We shared a beautiful life together, and even in our moments of reflection and remorse, Jan maintained her lively sense of humor. She once comforted me by saying, "Ah, that's too bad that you weren’t your best, because I was nothing but perfect."
Jan will be deeply missed by all who knew her well as a friend, sister, sister-in-law, aunt, and wife, as well as by those who crossed paths with her as a customer, advisor, gardener, chef, artist, and teacher. Many marveled at her resilience as the loving spouse of Scott.
You are invited to join us for a reception to be held on Saturday, February 24, at 2 pm, followed by a celebration of Jan’s life at Unity Spiritual Center Albuquerque, located at 9800 Candelaria Rd NE at 3pm. In honor of Jan's passion for animals, donations to your local animal shelter would be greatly appreciated, and she will surely applaud your gesture from heaven.