Harold John Bodeker was born on February 27, 1955, in Chester, Illinois to Sharon and Harold John Bodeker, Sr. He was raised in the community and graduated from Chester High School. He enjoyed spending time with his family, fishing, gardening, and cooking (as well as eating).
John’s career in traffic safety spans six decades and numerous agencies. He started at Southern Illinois University in the 1970s with some of the true pioneers of motorcycle rider education, like Larry Lindauer. He then went on to Illinois State University, where he earned his master’s degree.
John ultimately became the first state coordinator for the Indiana Motorcycle Operator Safety Education Program in 1987. Under his direction, that program grew from enrolling a few hundred students, to training over 7,000 riders annually, more than 150,000 total, and has been recognized with countless national awards.
John continued to work with motorcycle safety in various state agencies until his retirement in 2019. Throughout his career, and even in retirement, he served on numerous state and national boards, committees, and projects. He was elected as a regional representative on the Executive Committee for the National Association of State Motorcycle Safety Administrators (SMSA) in the early 2000s.
John’s personality made him a “non-bureaucratic” bureaucrat and an excellent resource for ABATE of Indiana, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF), and ALL motorcyclists nationwide. He presented a study at the MRF’s Meeting of the Minds Conference in Indianapolis just three weeks ago.
John Bodeker made an indelible mark in the world of motorcycle safety and his legacy will be the lives of the thousands of riders saved due to his efforts.
John was preceded in death by his mother Sharon Buck, father Harold John Bodeker, Sr., stepfather Homer Buck and his brother Jeffrey Bodeker. He is survived by his wife Laurie (Pyle) Bodeker, son Michael Bodeker (fiancé Erica Bostic), and daughter Elizabeth Bodeker.
There will be no public service at this time. The family will hold a private ceremony and plans to host a celebration of life in the summer of 2021. In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions to establish a rider education scholarship to assist potential students or instructors with financial hardships by donating to ABATE of Indiana through Facebook at www.facebook.com/donate/3789899467688243/. Non-Facebook members can donate by mail at ABATE of Indiana, PO Box 665, Bargersville, IN 46106, or call 800-23-ABATE.