In Memory of Frederick “Fred” Bodine
As most of you are aware, we lost a friend and also a mentor to a lot of us. Frederick “Fred” Bodine who passed away on October 3, 2020. Fred was a legend in our field but more importantly he was a friend. He loved our sport but also the friendships that he made with so many along the way. He was always willing to give advice to those who wanted it and we all learned a lot from him. His passing was a huge loss but the memories that he left behind will not soon be forgotten. His sense of humor, kindness and knowledge are some of the things that made him the amazing person that we will all remember. As you are here today, take the time to look back at something that maybe your learned from Fred or maybe share a story that you remember about Fred.
Space does not allow enough to be said about Fred, but he loved dogs & dog training-he always went out of his way to help newbies & mentor us along the way expecting nothing in return; his experience goes back to the beginning of organized hunt tests in the US; he knew & rubbed elbows with Richard Wolters-Charles Jurney-Jack Jagoda & Omar Driskill and many others. He was a founding member of PRC & President of NRHRC along with his wife Rose retrievers were his life. He loved HRC & campaigned to bring HRC to NJ in the 1980 / 1990s before any of us knew what HRC was. We will never know how deeply he cared for retrievers & all he knew about the sport /dog training & openly shared his knowledge with everyone. His club affiliations & founders of the sport will never fully be understood. I do not pretend to know the depth of the man, but he was a clown, a gentleman, the ultimate dog man, a hunter, a teacher, mentor, a Christian-father -husband-brother -son- a veteran (he had top secret clearance in the USAF while working on the first jet aircraft) and more. I never heard him complain or speak bad of others although in my view he had plenty of reason too.
Personally, he was my mentor-my friend & I cherished every day I could talk to him about all things including dog training. I miss him every single day.
This is my story of How I got started in all of this. First, I have always been around dogs.
And they always took to me! My parents bred Great Danes back in the 60s my sister had a German Shepherd, back then, that ended up along with the Danes being my Dogs. Then came the USAF, Where I worked with German Shepherds & Dobermans in the 70s. Then in the 80s Duck Hunting I came home and said that I needed a Hunting Dog, So I got every Book & Videos I could get my hands on, but what Breed. The Books said you needed to have soft hand with Goldens, Labs were more forgiven, Chesapeake’s on the other hand you needed a 2 x 4 and count your fingers afterwards. So, my neighbor suggested that I go to the South Jersey Sportsmen Jamboree, to watch the Retriever show it was September of 1988.
LuAnn & I packed up the kids, went to the Jamboree, where we met Bob VonSuskil. He was putting on the Retriever Demo, with His Golden Ret. Gonzo, OMG They where Awesome!! Afterwards I spoke to Bob. And he gave me some good advice. There was another Goldens there with her owner Tim. & a Black Labs Female by the name of Blue owned by Bill Cross. We would all become good friends afterwards. Well Bob asked if Bill would like to run in the demo. Bill said OK!! Well Bob threw the bumper out in the water just passed the clover, well Blue took off like a shot, but in the wrong direction, she went down the hill through the cover hit the water retrieved the bumper and was back to Bill in no time flat. What Bob said next, is what made up my mind on what breed. Bob said that’s a Lab always thinking of an easier way to do things. So, in late Oct. of 1988. LuAnn bought me my first Lab. Sir Brandon The First. In September of 1990, we took Brandon to the Jamboree. And Bob asked if I would run Brandon in the demo. I said OK, I could not believe what he did, he took the same route as Blue did two year before us. Well Bob, Bill, & I would do many, many demos together. Over the years I would go through 6 dogs at Jamboree. But it was my # 2 & 4 dogs that I was most proud of. My #2 dog, Thunder Brandon Son & I were training with Bob & his dog Max & Bob said that we should go with him to Seashore Dog Training Club. So, I went with Bob to check it out first, I was amazed of what Bob & Max could do together. When we were done and on our way home. I told Bob that I didn’t think Thunder could ever do that, but I would give it a try. Well Thunder went on to get his CGC CD CDX. And again, Bob said to me Jim you should run him in a Hunt Test. So, we did, and he earned his JH &WC. But an accident took him out of the Game! So, now I am hooked. I am getting Gun Dog Mag. Field & Stream. It’s 1997. I have been to the AKC Hunt Test, but the more I seen the less I like. I said to Bob although it looked nice, I have never seen Hunters & theirs dogs work that way. At the same Time, I am reading about the HRC, so I became a member, but there were no Clubs on the east coast. But still it was more to what I was looking for. Bob & Bill & I where training Hunting Dogs, that could run Hunt Test. Bill went on and still trains his dogs to hunt. Bob & I are still training dogs for both. LuAnn started coming out & would throw bumpers for us. Then in 2013 the HRC started to open, up here on the east coast, Region 2 had 5 Clubs. Bob & Scott Fosterling ran their first HRC Test. I was working with two of Debbie & Scotts young Goldens & we started to talk about trying to start an HRC Club here. Scott & I went to Maine to run their dogs at the Saco River Club.
This is where I met Wayne Sumner & Linda Harlow. And Scott, Debbie, LuAnn & I Started to put things together. I was asked by Tractor/Supply if we would do a demo, at the demo we were talking to Tina Camp, about trying to start an HRC Club here in NJ. Tina said let me make a call, and we were off and running.
So, in 2014 Lake Audrey HRC was born. Through the years Bob taught me what to look for & to set up a training set up, & a Test. Even so when Bob is out training with us, I still look at Bob as to say did I do it right Boss. I may be an HRC AA Started & AA Seasoned Judge, but I didn’t forget who got me there.
Bob VonSuskil has been my mentor and still is.
I also cannot forget other friends along the way Like Fred Bodine.
Debby Schaser, Linda Harlow, Wayne Sumner.
And Lisa Powell, who is one of the best training partners, if you want to learn drills.
Lisa has drills that aren’t in the books. The thing with Lisa is there is training & then there is teaching.
I have done a lot of training, but with Lisa I have learn to slow down and teach.
I have a lot of respect for each one of them.
And to my wife LuAnn who has giving me the room to do the things I love.
There is a lot more to My Story! Like How I met Eileen M, Antolino & we went from Sir Brandon Kennels, to Sir Brandon Neptune Kennel’s Breeding both Labs & Chesapeake’s. Then Working with Goldens, & A Dog That is and Always will be Close to my Heart!! A Ridgeback by the name of Moon. And how the South Jersey Sportsmen Jamboree introduced to some of our longtime friends & members of Lake Audrey like Steve & Judi Ware & Kim Cramer, Chris Levenknight. These are stories for another time.
Now that you know a little more about LuAnn & I. Let’s hear, your dog stories! Some of You got to meet and talk at the Dinner. Who are or were your mentor’s, how did you get started in the dog game?
Going over the certificates, I notice that we have some people going to get wet this year!! There are a few that could be in April. I can hear Linda now is it a Title!!
Good Luck to you all!!
Jim & LuAnn