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Family, friends mourn loss of UWRF freshman

July 10, 2007

An accident took the life of UW-River Falls student during the first month of summer break.

David Bodeau, 19, of Eau Claire, Wis., died May 28 while at his summer job at Sawbill Outfitters in Tofte, Minn. Bodeau’s death was caused by carbon monoxide poisioning. 

He would have been a sophomore in the fall working to complete his degree in biochemistry. David Bodeau was in his second summer working at Sawbill.

“He was just great,” Bill Hansen Sawbill’s president said. “He worked here all last summer and we really just loved him. He was an extraordinary guy. He had a calm presence…even though he was young he had a wise soul.”

David’s mother Kim described him as the “typical 19-year-old” with interests in all sorts of things.

“He was just as comfortable in a tux as he was in a flannel shirt,” Kim Bodeau said.

David was a musician and played tuba and trombone in high school.

“He loved being busy,” Kim Bodeau said of her son. “He didn’t like to waste time. He loved to bake and especially to make bread. The only problem was he never followed a recipe. Everyone would really like him to make a bread again and he would say he couldn’t.”

Friends, family and UWRF students have an online resource where they can share memories of Bodeau. After receiving news of David’s death, Nicholas Kayser of UW-Eau Claire started the group titled “In Memory of David Bodeau.”

Once in the group, members were allowed to post pictures, memories and even how they were feeling following David’s death.

“I made the group was because he had been a friend of mine in High School and I felt that he deserved some type of memorial. I also wanted to let those who had known him to share their memories with one another,” Kayser said.

The Royal Credit Union in Eau Claire is accepting memorials in Bodeau’s name, but Kim Bodeau said the family is not sure what they are going to do with the money yet. At the very least, the family would like to do something like plant a tree in honor of their son on campus.

David Bodeau put a smile on everyone’s face, it didn’t matter if it as a co-worker, sibling, parent or friend.

“We loved having him here,” Hansen said. “He brought so much happiness.”

Though Bodeau only attended UWRF for one year, he touched the lives of many people.  One person who he became closest with was Tim Richert, a sophomore at UWRF.  Richert lived in the same wing in McMillan Hall as Bodeau and the two shared many good memories together.

“In the short time that I knew Dave, he had already become one of my closest friends,” Richert said.  “If I had to choose my best memory of Dave, it would be all the times we sat after lunch and just talked.” 

Richert said that he and Bodeau had planned a canoe trip to the Boundary Waters in August with some of their UWRF classmates. 

“I was looking forward to it so much, and I know Dave and the rest of the guys were as well,” he said.  “I remember the last thing Dave said to me was ‘See you in August, Tim!’”

In something that he described as “a big honor,” Richert was selected to be one of the six pallbearers at Bodeau’s funeral, along with Jeremy Vetterkind, another of Bodeau’s UWRF friends. 

“I was at work delivering a pizza when Dave’s dad called me and asked if I would do it,” Richert said.  “It was one of the hardest and most surreal things I have ever had to do.” 

Of the six pallbearers, two were Bodeau’s friends from home, two from Sawbill and two from college.

Richert said he will always remember Bodeau’s sense of humor, great friendship and how he was never afraid to be himself.

“Dave made life fun, he made people laugh and he made people happy, and I will miss that so much,” he said.  “Dave will always be remembered.”