Slain man remembered
Funeral services for Jerry Bodiford Jr., were held here Saturday, two weeks after he was shot, an innocent bystander caught in the midst of a feud over a girl.
As family and friends continue to grieve his loss, local educators who knew Bodiford say it was a waste of a good life with a promising future.
“I was Jerry’s seventh grade math teacher,” says Pam Tenewitz, “He was an excellent math student and just an overall outstanding young man. Jerry was always prepared for class and enthusiastic about any challenge that he met. He was polite and respectful at all times. With his tragic and untimely death, Cairo has lost someone who was a great role model and would have certainly given back to his community.”
Bodiford, who was a high school athlete, was also known by the nickname Duck.
“Duck was a solid young man, very dependable and was a pleasure to be around,” says former Cairo High School Athletic Director Carlton Gainous.
“Jerry graduated with my daughter,” recalls CHS Principal David McCurry, “he was always a very polite and respectful young man. I was devastated to hear what happened.”
Raina Cauley taught Bodiford in eighth grade. Mrs. Cauley says, “Jerry was a true gem. Always polite and hard-working, Jerry had a rare quality you don’t often see in a student so young. He was a natural leader commanding his classmates’ respect and admiration. He had high expectations of himself and those around him. His smile was infectious and his laughter could brighten any day. I am so very sorry for his family; he was a special young man.”
Bodiford’s likeability is a common theme among those remembering him.
“I taught Duck his senior year. He was a hard worker in class and was a young man you enjoyed being around. I don’t think Duck ever met a stranger, and was liked by everyone, a very infectious spirit,” describes Michael Best, CHS graduation coach.
“I will always remember his smile. Jerry was very accepting of others and wanted to be accepted as well,” says Yvonne Stewart, CHS guidance counselor.
Bodiford played football for Coach Tom Fallaw at CHS. “He was a kid who was always in the right place and was always ready to work. Duck exemplified the Syrupmaker Spirit,” Fallaw says.
Cairo High School teacher Blair Dickinson also recalls Bodiford fondly. “I remember Jerry being a student who had character about him, a classy guy with a great smile,” Dickinson says.
Bodiford’s funeral was held at Family Worship Center followed by his interment at Crestview Cemetery. His full obituary can be found on Page B5 of this edition of The Cairo Messenger.
The two young men accused in Bodiford’s death remain behind bars in Grady County and are expected to go before a Superior Court judge for their bond hearings in the coming days.