The Daily Item
PORT ORFORD, Ore. — Paul David Bodtke, 63, of Port Orford, passed away peacefully on May 12, 2013, at Sacred Heart Hospital in Eugene, Ore., as a result of injuries sustained in an automobile accident.
He was born May 30, 1949, at the Port Hueneme Naval Hospital, Calif., the second child and only son of the late Jeanbelle (Fisher) Bodtke and Cdr. David H. Bodtke. His life partner and soul mate, Sara J. Clark, survives.
As the son of a naval officer, Paul grew up on military bases all over the world. He graduated from Hueneme High School in 1967 and joined the Navy Seabees in 1968. After leaving the Navy, he attended Ventura Community College where he earned a degree in photography.
Paul lived most of his life in southern California and Oregon, relocating to Port Orford from Cave Junction in 1992. Never molding himself into a traditional work life, Paul had many successful careers ranging from painting contractor to artisan potter. In Port Orford he was known as ‘Paul the Potter’, and his functional pottery was a favorite with locals and tourists alike. Paul combined his love of pottery and fishing by creating ceramic fish pressings using fish he caught in Oregon and Mexico. He was well known for his annual seconds sale held on July 3, where crowds would gather for a good deal on pottery, a free gin and tonic and a big dose of Paul’s enthusiasm and love for life.
‘Snap’ or ‘Snapper’ as his mother nicknamed him, was one-of-a-kind. His handsome face and bright smile lit up a room, and his gregarious nature, charm and quick wit made him the center of attention at every gathering. He had a wonderful sense of humor and was liked by everyone. Paul was intensely curious about what made things work and would take apart clocks, bikes and car engines and reassembling them.
Paul loved nature and his biggest passion in life was fishing, making Port Orford the perfect home for him. He was always just minutes from a beautiful beach or river where he could fish for perch, stripers or salmon with one of his fishing buddies or with one of his beloved canine companions Singer, Bessie, Maya or Buddy. When the wind blew from the south and the ocean was flat, he would run down to the dock with his kayak and paddle out to catch rockfish. For Paul, life could not get better than this!
Paul loved learning and always looked for creative new ways to express himself. He played the harmonica and standup bass with the Hensley Hillbillies and other friends in Port Orford. He was a woodworker, wove rugs on a loom, gardened and made glass art. Paul had a kind, caring and generous heart as well as an adventurous spirit. He was well loved and admired and will be missed by many
In addition to Sara Clark, he is survived by three children, Dawn Johnson, of Silverdale, Wash., Taylor Bird and Jesse Bodtke, of Ventura, Calif.; four grandchildren, Shelby and Marcus Johnson, of Silverdale, Wash., Dylan and Ella Bird of Ventura, Calif.; a sister and brother-in-law, Elizabeth and James Fulcher, of Selinsgrove, Pa.; and two nephews, Gianluca and Davide Pezzuti of Pennsylvania.
He was preceded in death by his sister, Rosemary (Bodtke) Morawski.
A memorial ceremony will be planned for later this summer.
Memorial donations can be made in Paul’s name to the Port Orford Public Library Endowment Fund, P.O. Box 130, Port Orford, OR 97465, (541) 332-5622, or Port Orford Ocean Resource Team, P.O. Box 679, Port Orford, OR 97465, (541) 332-0627.