Born April 11, 1949, in Biddeford, Maine, the second son of Verne Bodwell and Alberta (Snow) Bodwell, Dale grew up along the shores of Kennebunk Beach and Cape Porpoise Harbor, where boating and sailing with his father instilled a lifelong love of the water.
After landing a job in his teens washing dishes at The Captain’s in Cape Porpoise, Dale soon found himself working as a sternman on a lobster boat for the restaurant owner’s husband. In his late teens, Dale formed a short-lived scuba-diving business with his friend Wayne Berry, and while the pair mostly performed mooring repairs, they once discovered a sunken coal barge buried beneath the mud of Cape Porpoise Harbor. On dry land, the duo’s band, The Inner Sanctums, performed around southern Maine—Dale played organ and saxophone—often arriving for gigs in a hearse they’d painted bright yellow.
Dale graduated from Kennebunk High School—where his father taught science for more than thirty years—and went on to attend the University of Maine in Orono.
After settling in North Berwick in the 1970s, Dale met Debra (Gray) Bodwell while sitting in the salon chair of her recently opened business, The Hair Shop. It was love at first trim. In May 1980, the couple married in an intimate ceremony in Kennebunkport. For Dale’s sons from his previous marriage, Adam and Joshua, Debbie brought rock-solid stability, endless love, and countless craft projects to their lives.
The little blue cape Dale built on Ford Quint Road was only a house until Debbie arrived and made it a home. Over the next four decades, the pair transformed the former farm, building winding stone walls and sprawling flower and vegetable gardens that have caused many drivers to slow down over the years and admire the picture-perfect scene.
Dale loved to travel and filled countless albums with photographs of the globetrotting adventures he and Debbie enjoyed. Every adventure with Dale included one of the great joys of his life: food. When friends and family gathered at his home, Dale could be found in the kitchen, preparing a feast on his treasured Wolf range. It is impossible to overstate the pleasure he took in cooking for others: Dale loved feeding those he loved, and many lucky people had some of the most memorable meals of their lives on Windy Hill.
Easygoing and curious, Dale made friends in every room he walked into—a trait that served him well during his long career in sales. Fiercely loving and supportive of his family, he possessed a bottomless well of calm and patience. His wisdom ran deep but always contained kindness and humor.
Dale was predeceased by his parents. He is survived by his best friend and wife of forty-two years, Debra; his sons, Adam and Joshua (and his partner, Tammy); his granddaughters, Alyssia and Elona; his brother, Woody; his nephew, Chip (and his wife, Maggie); and more members of the Gray family than can be counted, all of whom loved him like he was their own blood.
A celebration will be held Saturday, November 19 at Bethel Christian Church (129 Lower Main Street, North Berwick). Visiting hours will begin at 10:00 a.m. and the memorial service will be held at 12:00 p.m., followed by a reception. Burial services will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Elliott G. Gray & Family Scholarship, c/o Susan Austin, P.O. Box 819, North Berwick ME 03906
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Elliott G. Gray & Family Scholarship Fund
c/o Susan Austin, P.O. Box 819, North Berwick ME 03906