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By W. T.Block

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Robert Bodemuller, Sr. was born at Crowley, Louisiana, on December 9, 1889, the son of Herman Karl Henry Bodemuller and Lillie Mary Castain. Herman Bodemuller (b. January 12, 1865-d. May 12, 1937) was baptized in the Catholic faith, but married a French Methodist, for whose sake he attended, but never belonged, to the Methodist Church. He learned the printing trade from W. W. Duson, a well-known, Southwest Louisiana figure, who published the Crowley, Louisiana, "Signal." Later Herman Bodemuller began his own business, known as "Bodemuller the Printer," in Opelousas, Louisiana, and published the Opelousas "Clarion." Herman's father, Karl Herman Bodemuller (b. Baden, Germany, ca. 1830-d. September 11, 1873) and mother, Helena A. Hils (b. Alsace-Lorraine, Ca. 1837-d. February 17, 1867) were married in Germany in 1852 before emigrating to Opelousas. Robert Bodemuller, Sr.'s maternal grandparents were Joseph A. Castain (b. March 24, 1834-d. October 21, 1881) and Emily Jane Bell (b. May 6, 1833-d. October 21, 1881), also of Opelousas.

Robert Bodemuller, Sr. graduated from high school and completed two years of college in Baton Rouge. All of his life he was an avid hunter and an expert marksman. When World War I broke out, he was working on a rice plantation as a chief or master mechanic. Later when he worked in the sulphur mines in Sulphur, Louisiana, Robert Bodemuller worked once more as a mechanic, and lived in a two-story house with a black family living on the lower floor. A black nanny, known as "Aunt Mary," cooked, washed, cleaned house, and took care of the Bodemuller children.

On October 10, 1910, Robert Bodemuller, Sr. married Hilda Evans (b. Plaisance, La., June 17, 1892-d. Nederland, January 19, 1982), the daughter of John S. Evans (b. Ky., November 18, 1861-d. September 10, 1928) and Mary Pamela Dejean (b. August, 1866-d. December 6, 1926). Hilda Bodemuller's paternal grandparents were William S. Evans (b. Ky., 1832-d. August 31, 1895) and Astie Burella Haynes (b. Ky., May 26, 1838-d. August 19, 1919), and her maternal grandparents were William DeJean (b. 1832) and Mary Penelope Lumpkin (b. April 18, 1846-d. January 11, 1872).

Robert and Hilda Bodemuller were the parents of three sons and one daughter, as follows: John Evans Bodemuller (b. October 24, 1911); Robert Bodemuller, Jr. (b. March 4, 1914); Rudolph Bodemuller (b. July 28, 1917); and Lois Bodemuller (b. December 7, 1919).

In 1922, Robert Bodemuller, Sr. moved his family to Port Arthur, Texas, and went to work for Texaco as a master mechanic. In 1923, he built his new home, which cost $3,600, on Sycamore Street (now South 15th) in Nederland, which is still standing. On June 21, 1932, he was issued patent No. 1, 864, 402 (filed on July 18, 1930) for an invention described as being an "automatic liquid level regulator." In 1935 Robert Bodemuller, Sr. was transferred to the Texas Pipe Line Company so that he could maintain and install engines, pumps, turbines, etc., along the pipe line's pumping stations. While working in Vinton, Louisiana, he developed prostate problems that were to plague him for a long time. He died on April 1, 1944, and is buried in the Magnolia Cemetery in Beaumont.

All four of the Bodemuller children graduated from Nederland High School between 1929 and 1937. Robert "Boots" Bodemuller, Jr., married Alice Ruth Nagel, the daughter of Jacob and Myrtle Nagel, and granddaughter of James and Alice Burnfin, pioneer Nederland settlers and Nederland's first section foreman. They are parents of one daughter, Susan, who is married to Dr. Kim McMorries of Nacogdoches, Texas, and grandparents of Kyle, Ryan and Anne Elyse McMorries. Always a very civic-minded person, "Boots" Bodemuller served four years on the Nederland city council during the 1950s. He also served on the boards of the Senior Citizen Center, United Way, Project Care, and after his retirement, he was voted "Man of the Year" by the Business and Professional Women's Club. He also served as chairman of the Building Committee of First United Methodist Church. "Boots" Bodemuller is retired from Texaco and resides at 1412 Avenue D in Nederland.

John Evans Bodemuller married (1) Helena Doornbos, by whom he has two daughters, Marie and Cornelia, and (2) Melba Savigne of Cuba, by whom he became the father of his youngest daughter Grace. John is also retired from Texaco and resides at 7ll South Eighteenth Street in Nederland.

Rudolph Bodemuller married Frances Ross, and they became the parents of three children, Mary Frances, James, and Robert Bodemuller. Rudolph is retired and resides in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Lois Bodemuller married Dr. William Hixon, and they are the parents of two children, Jessie and David Hixon. They reside in San Angelo, Texas.

Robert and Hilda Bodemuller were Methodists. In addition to their four children, they were grandparents to nine and great grandparents to seven. They are still fondly recalled and sorely missed by their descendants and a whole host of friends whose lives they touched.

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Copyright 1998-2023 by W. T. Block. All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise indicated, the material published on this site is copyrighted by William T. Block.
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