Legends of Diving Articles


Joe Bodner
The Greatest Buddy Team in Diving: Dr. Joseph and Jean Bodner

Amphibian for navy body search
diver and taught scuba diving. He and Jean were given various dive assignments by the Navy. One such assignment involved the study of icebergs. They would jump off the boat and dive around the iceberg, studying its makeup and formation. They later joked that it was a great remedy for any boredom that might otherwise have developed.

During the two years spent in that area, from November 1959- February of 1962, the couple was called to inspect a Polish freighter that was trapped in the ice and damaged.
Inspecting Russian Trawler 1961
After surveying the scene, Joe and Jean determined that the ship, whose captain was Russian, had been spying on the US and got caught, literally. The ship and her crew were transported down to Boston, where needed repairs were made before the ship returned to Poland.

The Bodners also found time to teach diving during that period and even formed a dive rescue team before leaving Newfoundland, to return to the U.S. Joe served with the Third Dental Company of the Third Marine Division which was sent to Vietnam from 1971-1972.

When Joe finally retired from the Navy, he was busy with his own private dental practice in Branford. He wrote and
Staff at UNEXSO
lectured both on dentistry and diving the rest of his life. Joe loved teaching students at the University of Connecticut Dental College. Jean had wide and varied interests outside of diving. She studied art, wrote poetry, played folk guitar, enjoyed gardening, and had a passion for flying her Cessna 150 airplane. The couple had two boys,
2012 Jeff, Monica and Dr Bodner
Paul G. Bodner and Joeseph(Jay) A. Bodner, who are both accomplished scuba divers. They would often be seen in the pool when their parents were teaching while the boys were still very young. In addition to their individual hobbies, the couple shared many interests throughout their lives including fencing, archery, classical music, and underwater photography. They shared a rich and productive life together and inspired all those who knew and loved them. Jean passed away May 19, 2010 and Joe on March 15, 2015. Their lifelong partnership and contribution to the dive community will never be forgotten.

Some Highlights of Joe’s Career

  • Joe served on the Naui Board of Directors from 1962-1970
  • Joe served as Course Director/Instructor and Coordinator for Naui 1961-1971
  • Served as committee member of the Recreational Training Council 1966-1968.
  • Diving Supervisor of the Branford Police Search & Recovery 1975-2015. (Jean helped much of the time when Joe was gone)

(We are indebted to Joseph A. Bodner, who shared his story directly with us at our Legends of Diving Event in 2012. We’d like to thank Joseph(Jay) and his wife for contributions to this biography. We also owe a debt of gratitude to Victor Worst for bringing Joe and his family to our Legends of Diving Event.)

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