Bodil was born in Copenhagen, Denmark on October 17th 1938. She moved with her family to Chicago in 1949 for her father’s professorship in plant physiology at the University of Chicago and then to Bergen, Norway in 1952. She got her doctorate at the University of Bergen in 1973 based on work with red blood cells and immunoglobulins in hibernating hedgehogs. She is predeceased by her father, Poul, her mother, Ellen, her brother, Oluf, and her sister, Agnete. She leaves behind her sister’s three sons Torbjørn, Øystein and Stig, her brother’s two daughters Ellen Katrine and Torill, and several grandnieces and grandnephews.
Bodil came to Newfoundland in 1973 for one year as a postdoctoral fellow in immunology in the new medical school. She stayed for the rest of her life. She joined the Faculty of Medicine in 1974 working and teaching in immunology. She retired in 2004 after 30 years of service. She was known as a generous and considerate mentor for numerous undergraduate and graduate students. She was also a meticulous and passionate researcher investigating the immunogenetics of several diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, a disease she, herself suffered with. Among her many research accomplishments was a paper describing the protective immune genes involved in its development. But a large part of her heart was in the world outside the lab with flowers and plants and growing things. She grew up in a family where genus and species names were part of the conversation. Very early in her life in NL she volunteered at the Oxen Pond Botanic Park, now the MUN Botanical Garden and was a founding member of FOG (the dedicated volunteers of Friends of the Garden) and served on its board a number of times as president and treasurer. She was instrumental in starting the Newfoundland chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society in the early 1980s and chaired that society for many years. Her love of alpine flowers brought her to the mountainous regions of Europe, North and South America and Asia and continued through her attendance at various plant conferences in both North America and Europe. In 2018 Bodil won the award of Merit from the North American Rock Garden Society for her outstanding contributions to rock and alpine gardening. The Alpine Trough display at the Garden and many of the potted plants in the Alpine House and the rare prehistoric Wollemi pine were all from generous donations provided to the garden by Bodil. Cats were an important part of her life. They accompanied her on many a trek through her garden and lands and many evening lap sittings. She was a quiet, unassuming person but a person of strong will and a fierce determination which made her a wicked Scrabble player and which carried her through a number of health problems. She left this life as she lived this life, on her own terms. Mourned by her beloved family in Norway and bereft old friends in Newfoundland. Donations in her memory may be made to Doctors Without Borders or to the SPCA.