Madeline Boddy, Churchwoman

Nov. 30, 1931 - Jan. 22, 2019
Madeline Boddy, Nov. 30, 1931 - Jan. 22, 2019

Madeline Boddy, a bookkeeper and office manager at St. Therese of Lisieux Catholic Church in Montauk for many years, died on Jan. 22 at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown. She was surrounded by family, with her granddaughter, Aria Kelly, holding her hand. “She went on her own terms,” her family wrote, “and had a ‘no frills’ cremation in accordance with her wishes.” She was 87, and had been in good health until just a few weeks before her death; indeed, she had only last year retired from her position at the church, where she had been a familiar and welcoming presence for decades. 

A funeral Mass will be said on Feb. 23 at noon at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Ronkonkoma, with Father Mike Rieder, formerly of St. Therese, presiding. A memorial will follow from 1 to 4 p.m. “to celebrate this lovely lady,” her family wrote, adding that “all are invited, all are welcome.”

Ms. Boddy was born in Brooklyn on Nov. 30, 1931, to Angelo Nicholes and the former Mary Piacente. “She has been a die-hard New Yorker ever since,” her family said, “just ask the State of Arizona, where she lived for only six months before coming back.”

The eldest of four children, Madeline started sewing at an early age, making many of her own clothes. After graduating from high school, she worked for stores such as Henri Bendel and Martin’s, and at Butterick Fashions, where she met her future husband, Kenneth H. Boddy, through mutual friends. She later started her own shop in Greenwich Village, the Green Frog, where she made and sold children’s clothing. 

Madeline Nicholes was married to Kenneth H. Boddy in 1956. He was “the greatest of all people,” her family wrote. They began visiting the East End and in 1959 bought the third buildable lot on West Lake Drive in Montauk. The house they built there still stands. “Montauk brought both of them great joy, as did many generations of Boston terriers, who would fog up the windows on the ride out there every weekend from Queens.”

Their daughter, Claudia, was born in 1972, “and this dynamic duo became a trio,” the family said. 

After Mr. Boddy died, Ms. Boddy moved to Montauk full time. The house “has been home to countless pets, hearty meals, boisterous renditions of Sinatra, and a total of four generations of strong (crazy) Italian women at the same time,” her family wrote. “It was always loud and always warm, which is exactly how they liked it.”

Ms. Boddy worked at St. Therese of Lisieux for the past 25 years. She also volunteered her time in any church role through which she felt she could be of service. 

She finally retired in 2018, at the urging of her family, who told her she could finally take it easy. “This was not met with agreement,” they wrote. “She was stubborn, she was abrasive, she was intimidating, she was tenacious, she was witty, she was a force of nature, and she will be missed.”

In addition to her granddaughter, she is survived by her daughter, Claudia Boddy of Arizona, and by her sisters, Helene Rice of Florida and Rosemarie Hintz of New Hyde Park. Her “prized possession” was her beloved Jack Russell, Petey, “ a.k.a. Schnikelfritz, who has now retired to happily live out the rest his days with his human sister,” her granddaughter wrote.