2012-05-25 / Community

Mal Bodenlos Memorial Plaque Rededicated

By Nicholas Briano


The Bodenlos family and friends at the memorial site on Tuesday for the plaque’s rededication. The Bodenlos family and friends at the memorial site on Tuesday for the plaque’s rededication. Family and friends of Mal Bodenlos gathered to rededicate the memorial plaque in his name at O’Donahue Park on Tuesday afternoon, remembering the good times they all spent with the former director of the Police Athletic League (PAL) and reflecting on what he meant to the community, more specifically to the youth of Rockaway.

Originally dedicated in September 2000, the plaque was removed from its former home at one end of the park to a new location near Beach 11 Street and the boardwalk. Bodenlos was a beloved Rockaway figure. Family and friends remembered the many character traits of Bodenlos such as his tough spirit and sense of humor that touched hundreds of kids growing up in Far Rockaway during the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s.

Of the many who spoke about Mal was one of his “boys,” Mel Utley, a Far Rockaway graduate who was an all-pro basketball player at St. John’s University in the mid- 1970s.

“Mal was like a father figure to me,” he told the Bodenlos family. “He always made me smile. This man was an icon, a saint and a great part of my life and this community.”

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