For her outstanding contributions as an English teacher, Idella is recognized on the Donors’ Wall of Fame by Sheri (Hallman) DeWitt of Aiken, SC; Marianne (Mowry) Gardner of Atlanta, GA; and Ken Weaver of Emporia, KS.
These are words paraphrased and quoted from the Eulogy delivered by Rev. Dr. W. Timothy McClendon at the memorial service for Idella Fallaw Bodie on January 4, 2019.
To compose a tribute to “a writer as accomplished as Idella Bodie” is a daunting task. She is larger than life in the minds of so many: her family whom she inspired and loved so much, children in our church whom she taught in Sunday School, her pupils in South Carolina for 30+years, even the people in Aiken County Jail that she tutored so they could pass the GED. Idella Fallaw Bodie was a treasure, a South Carolina Treasure. Her 25 books and numerous articles inspired young and old to appreciate personality and place, and the world of reading. Her gift for encouraging others to find their voice and write their own stories has inspired so many. There have been countless tributes written about her from teachers who watched the way that she taught English and Creative Writing. Others saw another mother in her who inspired them to love both literature and themselves – to place themselves in a story and find a way to cope with their own challenges through another person. Everyone has noted her sweetness, kindness, the caring tone of her voice, her beauty, her quiet strength. There have been a few, too, that remembered that ‘look’ that she could dispense when needed.”
The story of the Epiphany of Baby Jesus no doubt inspired Idella. Her pastor knew “she believed it” and “lived a life of faith from her childhood.”
“She was the epitome of a fine Southern Lady, genteel and strong, nurturing, patient, quiet and yet a Steel Magnolia. Her demeanor commanded respect as well as adoration. She was always organized, and proper.” Her “voice exuded melodious Southern Charm.” For instance, due to her ever positive attitude, Idella said that she never had any bad students in her classrooms in elementary, middle, or high school. If things got the tiniest bit out of hand or loud, Idella actually lowered her voice, instead of raising it, so that her students got quieter and focused on what she was saying.
“Teaching was a calling and a passion for her. She felt born to be a teacher. When she was a little girl she would set up little classrooms and teach her dolls.” Through her writings “she wanted young readers to see history come alive and see their own potential in her characters as she made them come alive.” “Her writing career began with a submission of an article for the Sandlapper Magazine. From there she submitted numerous inspiring stories of faith to Guideposts Magazine.”
She received numerous honors and awards for her teaching and writing. Among them were “the South Carolina Senate Award for Service to the Young Readers of South Carolina, and the Wil Gray Educator Award from [her alma mater] Columbia College. She was also winner of the Guideposts National Writing Competition.”
“Idella Fallaw Bodie was supremely a lady. She did proper right. ‘Lips that touch wine will never touch mine’ was one of her sayings. ‘Pretty is as pretty does’ was another. She was a lady, a Christian lady who loved her family and loved her students, fellow teachers, education, English, Creative Writing, and so much more.”