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Joan Bodkin, wrote Lucy Lincoln column for News

Updated: February 04, 2010, 6:58 am /
Published: February 04, 2010, 12:30 am

Dec. 2, 1924—Jan. 12, 2010

Joan G. Bodkin, who wrote the Lucy Lincoln advice column for The Buffalo News for 15 years, died unexpectedly Jan. 12 in ElderWood at Riverwood nursing home, Grand Island. She was 85.

As Miss Lincoln’s alter ego starting at The Buffalo Evening News in 1965 until 1980, Mrs. Bodkin provided tips to readers facing a variety of household and social quandaries, from combating beetles in the carpet, moths in the clothes closet and stains on the tablecloth to deciding who pays for what at the wedding and where guests should be seated.

“No appeal was ever refused a simple solution. Readers had only to ask,” remembered her husband, Robert C. Bodkin.

Born Joan Graham in Buffalo, she graduated from Kenmore High School, where she edited the yearbook.

She started in journalism as a teenage reporter and editor at the Kenmore Independent Record before joining the Buffalo Courier-Express as a copy aide to police reporters.

After graduating from Mount Holyoke College in 1947 with a bachelor’s degree in literature and composition, she returned to the Courier as an editor and a features writer with an interest in architecture and design.

Following her marriage in 1952, she edited internal publications for Crouse-Hines in Syracuse, was chief retail advertising copywriter for Woodward& Lothrop in Baltimore and returned to Buffalo as chief copywriter at J. N. Adam Co.

She worked for the Courier-Express again from 1947 to 1952 before starting at The News, where she wrote feature stories as well as the advice column.

Mrs. Bodkin lived on Grand Island, where she was a member of the town Historical Society, the Master Plan, Historic Preservation and Continuing Education committees, and the Architectural Review Board, as well as a charter member of the Memorial Library.

A creative-writing teacher in the town adult education program for many years, she employed a classroom style that was “a marvelous mix of wit and substance,” said former student Amelia Cotter. The lessons were “education and entertainment of a high order,” she added.

In later years, Mrs. Bodkin worked to restore her home, Bodland, designed by John Highland to resemble a Frank Lloyd Wright “prairie house.”

She was a member of Mensa and the Mount Holyoke Alumni Association.

Surviving, in addition to husband of 57 years, is a brother, Dr. Saxon P. Graham.

A private memorial service is planned.