Lawrence (Bud) Bodvin #1957, retired Seattle Police Patrol Harborman passed away on June 19, 2017 at the age of 95.
Bud was born and raised in Burien. He graduated two and a half years before the Pearl Harbor attack. The economy was still recovering from the Great Depression which started in 1929, and there were few jobs in the Puget Sound area. So, he worked in Alaska on heavy equipment/machinery during those run up months before the war.
Bud joined the Navy a couple of months after the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941. But before reporting to duty, he married Mabel in April of 1942. Then he took the train to Idaho. He was one of the first trainees to go through basic at the new Farragut Training Station located on Lake Pend Oreille in Idaho.
After training, Bud was assigned to the South Pacific. His first ship was involved in several surface engagements. His best friend on shipboard died in his arms after a particularly brutal engagement. Bud was assigned to another ship which also saw a lot of combat. So many of his section members were casualties, that Bud was promoted quickly, mostly because he was the last man standing. At the time, he was the youngest Chief in the Navy. After the war, he was discharged in 1946.
Bud returned to Burien. There were a lot of veterans looking for jobs. So, he went back to work up in Alaska, this time as a government trained diesel mechanic. But Mabel wanted him back home. So, they moved to White Pass. There, Bud worked in a ski and hunting lodge and operated a tow truck on the side. After a while, they saved enough money to move back to the Greater Seattle area. He bought a home fuel oil delivery business and purchased an $800 lot way out in the county, in Maple Valley. After completing his deliveries, he and Mabel would clear the lot in preparation to build a house. Bud was a jack-of-all-trades. He could build or repair anything. If not, Mabel could – she had the knack. By 1955, they had a starter house, outbuilding – including a tack shop, and bought the adjoining lot to raise show horses. They were always building or remodeling.
In May of 1955, Bud landed a job with the Seattle Harbor Patrol. He was an excellent boat operator, mechanic, and shipwright. At that time, the Harbor Patrol was its own Department., not part of the Police Department. Staffing was very streamlined. In 1962, Bud was operating a boat by himself on Lake Washington during the infamous Columbus Day storm on October 12th. This storm was the wind-down of Typhoon Freda to a severe wind storm. It did damage from the Aleutian Islands to California. Bellarmine High in Tacoma lost the gym roof, Issaquah Memorial Stadium lost its roof, the floating bridges closed, the East Side lost all electrical power, and the World’s Fair was shut down and evacuated. But Bud stayed out on lake patrol the entire time.
In 1993, the Harbor Patrol was accreted into the Police Department. The Harbormen were sent to the Academy. Some returned to the Harbor Unit, but Bud was only an eight-year veteran, so he was sent to Patrol 2nd Watch in Georgetown. His beat was Hillman City, next to Columbia City. This beat was half prowl car and half walking beat. Bud stayed there until 1971, then returned to Harbor.
In 1974, while working with Ed Burkhart #2630, Bud pulled to boat up to Ivar’s Salmon House on Lake Union. He told Ed to go get their fish and chips order. On the way back, Ed saw a drunk fall off the dock and begin to flail in the water. As Ed started to put lunch down in order to save the drowning man, Bud yelled. “you protect lunch, I’ll save the drunk.” Then he stripped off his clothes, dove in, and pulled the sodden drunk to shore. The fish and chips stayed warm and crispy.
A little while later, working with Nick Bulpin #2185, they were pursuing a 130-ft. pleasure boat which was a converted mine sweeper that the owner was mooring at various docks without paying moorage fees. The suspect’s throttle stuck open. By the time he ran from the wheel house to the engine room to kill the power, his boat struck two other cabin cruisers, sinking them, and ran into the old Seattle City Light steam powered plant (now the ZymoGenetics Building) on Lake Union at Fairview. Now they have not only an arrestee in a theft of service case, but two crushed and sunken boats and some infrastructure damage to the old plant. Thus, the old axiom “don’t be calling the police unless you want to make the situation worse.”
Bud vested after 21 years at the end of 1976. He went home and continued to work on his homestead in Maple Valley, expanding and remodeling. During the winter, Mabel and Bud would load up their trailer and tour the southwest and Mexico. Mabel passed away in September of 2010 at the age of 83. They had been married 68 years. Bud continued to live on their homestead until he died two months ago. Now his daughter Bev is living there. It’s been in the family for approximately 70 years.
Bud is survived by his daughter, Beverly; son, Brad; eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.