Memories of Derrill

These are memories and thoughts of
Derrill Bodley sent to the Peaceful Tomorrows office. They are placed
in the order they were received.

If Derrill reminds me of anyone it is of Marla.

Those two marched completely to the music of their own drums.

They never seemed to walk a straight line, but rather zigzagged to the point, someway down the road, that they alone saw and it was always a place where they would plead for those who had no voice.

And in the process they played, both music and life, determined to celebrate existence.

Now Derrill, you sweet, quirky man, you will no longer be able to charm us, but you will always inspire us.

I will miss you so much.


In response to a short piece on I posted on the Peaceful Tomorrows discussion list, Derrill asked if he could post my words on his office door. I was touched, not only by the request, but by his sharing of his thoughts of Deora. He said we would meet and share our stories at the next retreat or in DC on the 24th. I so wanted to hug him and to be a part of his work and Deora’s legacy. This was a kind man.


Derrill and I worked together at University of the Pacific and were good friends. I mastered a website for Deora on 9/11 where people could “light a candle” for Deora and leave messages for Derrill and the family. We still get messages on the site. This morning I sadly updated the site and added the opportunity for people to light a candle for Derrill and leave messages for his wife, Nancy, and his family. I will continue the site in memory of Derrill and Deora. It is at if anyone would like to light a candle for Derrill.

Sue Eskridge

My sympathy is with you and others who suffer Derrill’s loss.

With friendship,

Joseph Gerson

Dear Peaceful Tomorrows,

Thank you Andrea-san for the news on Derril Bodley-san. I am so deeply shocked and still cannot really believe it. It came at the time when I was just writing an email to Elaine and John Lleinun-san, and Barry and Kelly-san.

In Hiroshima, and then in Nagasaki in August 2004, thousands of us were heartened and heart-warmed by Derrill-san, who stood before us to share with us his story that he had courageously and so sensibly refused the grievous death of his young Deora-san to be used as excuse for launching war.

Yes, “Steps to peace”, played by Derrill-san himself at the closing plenary of the 2004 World Conference against A and H Bombs, still stays in our heart, and so does his warm, gentle personality.

In the midst of the escalating cycle of barbarous war and terrorism, you, Peaceful Tomorrows, stood in action, which threw and is throwing the beam of light to the world to show that pursuing justice by non-violent means is the only answer, that the true heart of the US citizens stands with us, all those who worked in the world to put an end to killing and violence. Like Japanese Hibakusha, A-bomb survivors, the presence of your movement and yourselves are important as evidence of the conscience of the humans. Please, dear Peaceful Tomorrows, keep well and take care of yourselves.

Please convey my deepest sympathy and one of all our grassroots peaceniks to Derrill-san’s bereaved family.

Hiroshi TAKA (Japan Council against A and H Bombs)

Dear Andrea,

I was shocked by this sadden news. I just can not believe it if it’s true.

As I was talking to him regarding his beautiful music while he was in Japan, I was going to report him about the closing ceremony, but I have not yet. So I regret that I should have done it earlier. I also feel sorry for his wife who lost her two loved ones.

I put your mail in Stonewalk mailing list with some Japanese translation. I will send the whole translation by today. I remember the scene when he was sitting in the driver’s seat during the stonewalk and also his nice voice over the phone.

I am sure that all of you Peaceful Tomorrows are in shock now.

Now, I just pray for him, his family and his friends. ….

Yoshimi Tokunaga

After hearing the news of Dr. Bodley’s death, I was moved to call friends and fellow students of his to share memories and thoughts on him. I thought I would share some of those with you. What stood out most in our minds was his humble nature. He was quite possibly the most talented man I have met, but you would never know that to talk to him. He didn’t boast about his many accomplishments or keep a running list of them. But it was made clear in the subtle ways he would use them to teach you. For instance, one day in class a student’s cell phone went off. As she was rummaging through her bag to find it and turn it off, Dr. Bodley immediately picked up the familiar tune on the piano, in the key it was playing in! The class I took from him – Aural Perception – was only half a credit, I believe, and only lasted for a half hour each day it met. But it was memorable, and that was all due to Dr. Bodley. I remember that occasionally, on nice days, he would take us outside with a dinky little electric keyboard and we would take dictation sitting on the grass in the sun.

After I completed his class, I asked to be a tutor for the next year’s students. He approved and I started tutoring a few days a week. Every once in a while, he would ask me to teach the class if he was not able to. Shortly after my senior year began, Dr. Bodley lost his daughter in the attacks on September 11th. I remember the loss we all felt that day. That evening there was a memorial service at the Conservatory’s concert hall, where the Dean announced that Dr. Bodley’s daughter, Deora, had been on Flight 93. There was a very audible reaction from the students and faculty sitting there. It was horrible news. Soon after that, Dr. Bodley called and asked if I would teach on many occasions. I remember talking with him about his trip to Afghanistan and being more than willing to teach his class while he was gone. It was the very least that I could do. Time after time my fellow students and I kept hearing more and more about the amazing work he was doing. His ability to turn such a devastating event into action for peace and understanding was nothing short of saintly. It served as a reminder to me that I have a choice when faced with the actions of others. I can respond with anger and hate, or I can fight back by eradicating those very motives.

My last semester at UOP we “made a deal” that I would teach on Wednesdays, since he had a conflict in Sacramento. He found out that I was not receiving financial aid for my position and insisted on paying me. I was a starving college student, so it didn’t take much convincing. Soon after I graduated, I received a check in the mail for what was supposed to be $40, my final payment. When I opened the envelope, I almost fell over from disbelief. The check was for $400. I called him later that night – surely he had made a mistake and added an extra zero or something. The conversation went something like this…

“Dr. Bodley, I think you made a mistake when you wrote my check. I think you made it out for too much.”
“Really? Well, how much was it supposed to be for?”
“And how much did I make it out for?”
brief pause
“Well, I talked it over with my wife and we figured that you are
graduating, you’re a poor college student, and we think you should keep
the money.”

I was floored. Tears sprung to my eyes. He had no idea how much I actually needed that money. I thanked him profusely, but probably not enough. After I heard of his passing I felt sad and, most importantly, lucky that I knew him. And I wanted to do something in his memory. I thought about the money he so generously gave me. I knew he was deeply involved in the cause for peace after his daughter’s passing. I found this website through Candles for Deora and I would like to “pay back” the $400 he gave me. It might take a few months, but I feel like that money belongs to this cause. It was given to me through his generosity, and I would be honored to give it back to an organization he helped create.

I will be attending his memorial service this Friday at the University of the Pacific, just as I attended and sang at the memorial service for his daughter and another victim that was related to a staff member at UOP. His influence is felt by so many. The world needed more of him, not less. But he has inspired so many of us, and I feel confident that those of us that knew him, even as briefly as we did, will remember him and honor that memory.

Thank you for this opportunity.

Meredith Hawkins
Sacramento, CA
UOP Conservatory Class of 2002
Choir Director, Rocklin High School

Derrill was the first person from Peaceful Tomorrows I got to know in Jan. 2003. He sort of took me under his wing, encouraged me to come to NYC to meet the group returning from Iraq and invited me to stay at Eva’s home before the march in D.C. But even before that I knew of him and his trip to Afghanistan. I was in grateful awe of him. He actually DID what I wished, but was too numb, to do.

It was a profound pleasure to have walked with him on Stonewalk last year and again to have spent 3 days walking and talking with him on Stonewalk Japan. I was overjoyed to see him, another Peaceful Tomorrows member, after being the only one from PT for weeks.
I played the CD of “Steps to Peace” a great deal on Stonewalk and the song was known and much loved by the Japanese people who heard it by the time he arrived. They were SO pleased to meet Derrill when he joined us in Yamaguchi. He was the one who encouraged me to accept the invitation to participate in the International and World Conferences in August. He told me of his wonderful experience the year before. I spoke with many people whose admiration and respect for Derrill was obvious.

was kind, sane, and amazing! We had conversations that made sense and helped me “keep the sorrow and the sun in the same frame”, which is what Camus said is the difficult thing to do. Since 9-11 it has been very hard to hang onto hope. Derrill and I spoke about committing our energies to what we believed to now be the important things. Knowing Derrill, however briefly, has helped me keep my balance and see a bit more clearly. His death is a personal loss for me and for everyone of us who knew him. It feels like we have, in fact, again lost another member of our family.

In sorrow, Andrea LeBlanc

was so sad to hear about Derrill – how do things like this happen? I was so pleased to meet him at the Washington D.C. meeting last spring, and as many of you know who were there, it was a thrill to play “Steps to Peace” with him at one of our meetings. He was so kind and generous to me, and gracious. I will think of him often, and hope to play his piece again many times, in his honor, and for all our families.

With deep sympathy to his family,
Jessica Murrow
Wife of Stephen Adams, killed 9/11 WT

and I, along with another close friend, Dave Rosenthal, graduated from Stagg High School, Stockton in 1962. During our young years together we shared many musical moments playing Saxophone trios, and giging with jazz groups. We also spent lots of time riding bikes, hanging out, and generally just having fun…his incredibly bright mind and wonderful musical talent made knowing him a real treat…he always surprised us with new and interesting ideas for musical adventures. During the next 30 years we managed to get together a number of times to catch up but I’m sad to say that some of the plans he and I made for trying new musical vistas never came to pass….I ended up in Los Angeles and have been almost exclusively a commercial musician since 1976 and he stayed in the Stockton/Sacramento area to pursue his career and musical concepts. We also shared a love for motorcycles which is something we both admitted was inherently dangerous. On our last meeting in Stockton, a year ago, he reminded me that he had driven my future wife, Carol, to my 17th surprise birthday party on his Yamaha 250 in 1961! Of course Carol and I didn’t know we would be married in 4 years from that night and, as it turns out, we’re still married after almost 40 years.
We will miss Derrill very much and the world is a sadder place without him. We hope Nancy, his wife, can find some small comfort knowing how many people loved Derrill and will miss him dearly.

Dave and Carol Riddles

was so sad to hear about Derrill – how do things like this happen? I was so pleased to meet him at the Washington D.C. meeting last spring, and as many of you know who were there, it was a thrill to play “Steps to Peace” with him at one of our meetings. He was so kind and generous to me, and gracious. I will think of him often, and hope to play his piece again many times, in his honor, and for all our families.

With deep sympathy to his family,
Jessica Murrow
Wife of Stephen Adams, killed 9/11 WTC

My earliest memory of Derrill is the first time I saw him in the third grade. It was the first year for a new school, Grover Cleveland Elementary, in Stockton. All the girls were talking about the ‘cutest boy in school’. Cute didn’t cut it…he was adorable. It was quite a coup to get him as a folk dance partner. His celebrity didn’t stop there. When we got back to school the next Fall, we learned that Derrill had been promoted to the fifth grade! We were stunned…most of us didn’t even know that you could do that. After that, he became known as ‘that really smart kid who skipped a grade’. In the late ’60’s we stayed in touch as my husband and I and Derrill all ended up living on the East Coast. It helped ease that homesick feeling to have a friend from back home drop by from time to time. His appearance really changed in those years. He wore his hair long and bushy and he grew a huge beard….always trying to beat that ‘cute as a button’ image. Derrill could be quite serious. He had a sharp, curious mind, and keen wit.
However, the softest we had ever seen him was the first time he stopped by our house in Los Angeles with Deora…she was three years old.
Derrill was dedicated to bringing her from San Diego to Stockton to visit with his elderly parents. He was so playful and sweet with her…it was a whole new Derrill. As my husband and I reminisce, which we seem to do more and more these days, we both agree on how touched we were to witness the warm hearted transformation that lovely child brought into his life. We’ll miss him.

Carol Riddles

My name is Mariko Kaburagi.

I have been helping Mrs. Kuge, mother of Toshiya Kuge , the passenger of UA Fight 93, in the language.

When she learned the terrible news that Mr. Bodley passed away , she called me on the phone and share the sad news with me

I want Mrs. Bodley to know that there is another family member in Japan who misses him and remembers him with great respect.

I will greatly appreciated if you convey the message to Mrs.Bodley how Mrs. Kuge is feeling right now.


I was shocked to learn that Mr. Bodley was killed by an accident.

I cannot find right words to console Mrs. Bodley for the loss of her beloved husband.
It was in New Jersey in February, 2002 when I first met him. He kindly spoke to me recognizing I was the only Japanese there.

At dinner of September 2002, he played the beautiful tune with piano.

I was moved very much then feeling as if the tune was the message from all the vicitims.

Afterwards, he phoned me and told me the activity of Peaceful Tomorrows with his Japanese student as an interpreter.

During my visit to the site this September, I expected to see him again but could not find him there.

His spirits for peace and reconciliation will be remembered from now on.

My deepest condolence to Mrs. Bodley and family.

With respect and love,

Yachiyo Kuge


I, myself am joining Mrs. Kuge to send my deep respect and condolence to Mrs. Bodley and family.

Mariko for Mrs. Kuge

met Professor Bodley at a book signing for Peaceful Tomorrows. He was such a gentle man, full of love and compassion. I will treasure the autographed book. I asked him if he would be willing to talk to a peace and justice group , and he included his home phone number in the front of the book! It is devastating that this man of peace was taken from us now…

Lorraine Krofchok, Director
Grandmothers for Peace International
Elk Grove, CA

have been thinking all day of Derrill. What a man – kind, gentle, passionate, focused, funny, serious, sad and above all, loving.
The day Derrill died I had just responded to an e-mail David forwarded me about a Peaceful Tomorrows Stonewalk event in Uxbridge, MA in 2004. I remembered that day very clearly. We pulled the stone up a big hill early in the morning, Derrill wearing the poster-sized picture of Deora while pulling the caisson up the hills. After a long day, we made our way to Millville, MA.
There we met a photographer who told us of Marilyn Trudeau, mother of flight attendant Amy Jarret who died on United Airlines Flight 175. That afternoon, the photographer took our contact information.

When we got back to the Peace Abbey, which was still our home base at that point in the walk, we settled into conversations about the day and the walk with Dot and Lewis, the Peace Abbey Stonewalk veterans.
As it got later, we realized we were running the risk of being late for the event in Uxbridge. Loretta Filipov, in rare comical form, was the last to be persuaded that it was time to go. This exhausting day made us approach the evening speaking event with some hesitancy. We had Loretta’s car and Derrill was the designated driver. All the way to the event we told the stupidest jokes like, “A horse walks into a bar and the bartender says, ‘Why the long face?'” or “Why was six afraid of seven? Because 7 – 8 – 9.”

I am pasting a copy of what I wrote about that day last summer:

August 3 – Today we did the “Menden Hill.” That
has special meaning for folks around here, especially bike riders and
the Stonewalk 1999 alumni. We had a very large group to help us get up
there, including Lewis and Meg’s sons, Dan Dick and his two kids (it
seems Dan and his kids are here almost every day – I hope that
continues) and many of the 1999 alumni who, like Lewis, look forward to
the hills. The police greeted us in the morning and warned us of the
danger of the route we were on. We were diverted from the major route
after the hill and traveled a beautiful country road towards Millville.
Loretta had an opportunity today to highlight Al’s name in the
Portraits of Grief book on the caisson. Sharing this moment with her
and yesterday a similar moment with Andrea quickly deepens the
emotional realization of why we do this.

We went back to the Peace Abbey to shower up before returning to
Uxbridge for an evening event. We all spoke briefly. Also on the bill
was Tony Brown, a poet who was one of the 100 poets for peace
dis-invited by from the White House. His final poem that he shared was
specifically for Stonewalk and was a stunning recognition that gifts
come in unusual packages at times, but always with the pregnant hope
involved in pulling. The most powerful part of the evening was
Derrill’s rendition of “Steps to Peace,” the song that he wrote on
September 13th, 2001. He said the lyrics came to him later when he
found some of Deora’s writing. When he began singing the line, “Where
have you gone, Deora?” everyone in the room was joined together by a
shared visceral experience of grief. WomanSpiritRising, an a Capella
group, sang raising the roof. I had the pleasure of sitting next to
Derrill when we left the stage to listen. He was like a kid on
Christmas listening to and joining in singing the songs. The evening
concluded with a reception upstairs in the Congregational Church where
our host, Skip Shea, has a gallery dedicated to peace. It was a very
inspiring evening. The women of WomanSpiritRising invited us out to
desert. After initially accepting, we went to the restaurant to express
our regrets. Loretta, who had been most insistent that we leave in 5
minutes had to be dragged out the door as she had fallen into singing
songs like “You’re a Grand Old Flag” with the group. That’s the way
these days are going. We have had deep experiences of pain, physical
and emotional, and moments where we have been so joyful and happy.

The next day, we met Marilyn and she walked with us to the memorial stone for her daughter. Derrill presented Marilyn with mementos from Peaceful Tomorrows. Andrea realized that Robert was seated in the section of the plane that Amy was probably working. It was a powerful encounter. That evening, we met singer/songwriter Joyce Katzberg at an event in Slatersville, RI. Joyce sand a song, the refrain of which was

Not another mother’s son/Not another father’s daughter
In the name of all that’s holy/Put an end to all this slaughter

She told us later in the week in Providence that she wrote that line with Derrill in mind after hearing about Derrill and meeting him at an anti war event. She said, “We hear a lot about mothers’ sons, but there is something so striking about this father and his daughter.” In Providence, Derrill invited us all to get breakfast with him at the coffee shop in which he waited for Deora while she interviewed at Brown. It was such an honor to share that with him.

Before Derrill went back to Sacramento, he confessed to us that he had, “evil thoughts about Stone-ito.” Stone-ito was a desk top size replica of the Stonewalk stone. We brought it to speaking events. Derrill told us he actually packed it in his bag, but reconsidered and returned it to the caisson. Lewis ordered more stone-itos. I don’t know if Derrill received one; I hope so. I will always consider myself blessed to have known Derrill and to have worked together on such a difficult journey.

I just wanted to share my memories of Derrill. I had him for two of his music classes at Sacramento City College. I was in his class on September 11, 2001. We were they class that told him of the last plane that went down in Penn. Alot of us didnt expect him to be there the next class session after we learned that his daugher was on that plane but he showed up. He played the piano and we all cried together. After that semester I would see his name many places because of all of the wonderful thing he was doing. And that is how I will remeber my creative, upbeat music teacher. A man who lived his life doing woderful things with/for other people.

Christina L.
Sacramento California

I heard about the sudden accidental death of Derill Bodley in California in a motorcycle. According to to Andrea LeBlanc’s information, he came to join the Stonewalk Japan this past summer. I remember quite well his name and story since I translated the book “Turning Our Grief into Action for Peace.” into Japanese. He was so wonderful a person who refrained himself from any fanaticism and kept on only dseeking for a more humane peaceful world. My wife and I really miss him. We do not find any suitable word to lament over his death.
But I do wish to tell you that we remember him forever and we will go on striding toward peaceful tomorrows.

Sincerely Yours,
Hisashi Kajiwara

Just wanted to share a memory of Derril with you…

On a freezing Thanksgiving Day in 2003, Derril took the time to meet with my Dad in hopes that he could give some comfort to my family about my upcoming trip to Afghanistan. We were all in Washington DC for the holiday and so, Derril, being Derril suggested that we meet in front of the White House — so we could simultaneously protest and trip plan!
After making this suggestion, he changed his mind and said, “I really want you to be able to make this trip, so let’s not pile too much on your Dad, let’s meet at McDonalds and you and I will protest by ourselves afterwards.”

Derril was smart. He was also kind. He listened to all of my Dad’s concerns and spoke to him as a fellow father. Derril also understood that while I was an adult, that being an activist takes tremendous support from family, and that it mattered to me that my Dad was comfortable with my decision to make the trip.
Derril won my Dad over. If he had not, I am not sure I would have had the courage to go to Afghanistan. But because of his support, I did go and was able to go and build relationships with first responders in Afghanistan. These relationships have led to many successful aide efforts for Afghan families harmed by US military actions. Thanks for the spark Derril.

Megan Bartlett
Ground Zero for Peace – 9/11 First Responders Against War

Let un not rest until there is peace.
In Memory of Derrill

As a United Flight 93 family member engaged in Peaceful Tomorrows, I owe an immeasurable debt to the vision, heart, and leadership of fellow family-member Derrill Brodley. He acted on his daughter’s examle, selflessly doing all in his power to save the lives of others.
Derrill and Deora exemplified how we can move from being strangers to one another to forging an unbreakable unity – in a plane, across the country, and across the world. Derrill taught us that the lesson of 9/11 was not mimicking the terrorist view of “us” versus “them”, rather it lies in the power of a diverse “us” made up of all of humanity acting in concert. Derrill and Deora’s unparalleled integrity, and the conviction and creativity in which it was applied, remains available to us all as we continue their mission. Bonding together all persons, no matter our cultural and individual differences, in mutual support is the only path by which the world will survive. Thank you for showing the way.

Terry A. Greene
Sister of Donald F. Greene

Since starting to work at Peaceful Tomorrows a year & a half ago, I found myself grieving for people I never knew. I did not expect to have to do the same for Derrill.

I met Derrill’s music before I really met Derrill himself. My first week working with Peaceful Tomorrows I joined the organization’s Steering Committee for a secluded mountain retreat and found myself a bit afraid and intimidated by not only the courage of these peace-makers, but also the enormity of their loss. How was I to relate to these people who carried such a profound grief with such grace and compassion? Waiting for meetings to start I sat in the common area and Derrill sat in front of the piano and I had the privilege to listen to the beauty he created. It made the moment easier, ethereal and unforgettable.

With time, I started to work on Eyes Wide Open and Derrill generously offered his beloved bread truck “Bertha” to transport the civilian shoes that honor and commemorate Iraqis killed in the war. It was at Eyes Wide Open that I heard Derrill speak of Deora for the first time. He spoke with love, grief, sincerity, passion and purpose. It was heart-breaking. As the project progressed, so did our need to employ Bertha full time and Derrill threw himself into making the logisitics work out with a generous zeal. We spoke on the phone and in person, and my heart warmed to realize that we had become friends.

For work I often found myself traveling for long periods of time on busses. Once, on one of these trips, I put Derrill’s “Steps to Peace” on repeat and listened to it for an hour and a half straight. I cried. I meant to write Derrill an email to tell him that his song, Deora’s song, was beautiful and moving: to let him know that it had its own voice that spoke to more than just being notes strung together, that it spoke a meaning. I meant to write him an email that thanked him. I really wish I had.

So, in a moment that may be too late, Thank You Derrill. What an extraordinary man you were. I will miss your sincere maniacal laugh. Your Loss is a tragedy for your friends, family, students, and for the work for peace that you tirelessly gave yourself. I will miss you and am grateful for the time I knew you.


It is difficult to know how words can adequately express so many facets of so many memories and emotions that form, change and build on each other over the years.

I have so many glimpses of memories that flood my mind when I think of Derrill.

Derrill leaving tulip tree flowers on my mother’s car early in the morning so that she would find them when she woke up, Derrill and Deora in the house on Stadium welcoming us in with matching smiling faces, the mischievous teenage daughter that was Deora and the proud father and husband that was Derrill, always doing the best that he possibly could with what he had, no exceptions. No limits once enthusiasm was ignited, no exceptions.

Dramatic entrances in restaurants, enthusiastic impromptu piano concerts in a tacky lounge that we went into just passing through a random town on our way home from Pasadena, the way that Derrill and my mother would completely embarrass me at any given musical venue I attended with them–hooting and dancing whether slightly off the beat or right on the beat but louder than the actual band.

Derrill heartbroken because of the events in the world and how they had affected our family, but determined to do something with his heartbrokenness. Derrill in Afghanistan, in New York, in California, in Washington, in Pennsylvania, in Japan doing something with his heartbrokenness.

The proud husband, father, step-father, brother and grandfather always coming through at the last minute when it looked like nothing was going to work out–he always made it work out for the best. Looking on the bright side of darkness and seeing a ray of light somewhere, even if none of the rest of us could.

Holding Deora, my mother, my child when they needed it and looking for ways to change our individual worlds or

Filed in: News from Peaceful Tomorrows

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