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11 May 2010

Marion Bodmer (1910 - 1981) lawyer.

Marion’s parents in rural Pennsylvania, wanting a girl, announced their baby to be so, and then were embarrassed to switch the child to boys clothing. They had named the child Marion as it is fitting to both sexes.

Marion’s ‘boyish’ ability in sports led the neighbors to suspect that she might not be a girl. They explained the situation to Marion at age 9. He threw a tantrum and wept, but his parents persuaded him to continue. They considered moving to another place where Marion could start over as a boy, but Mr Bodmer had acquired considerable property and become Chief Burgess.

Marion continued through high school as a girl, as a good student and for three years was on the girls’ basketball team, however the other girls considered that she played like a boy and her nickname was Gus. 

At age 19 Marion switched to male clothing with the intention of entering the legal profession, and to that end registered at a preparatory school in Allentown for the summer, and Dickenson law School in the fall.

He married a Turkish-born doctor and they lived in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania and had two children.

This story, which resembles fantasies found in transvestite fiction, was actually reported in the US national press at the time.

Thank you to Kathy Padilla for the photograph and the obituary of Marion's wife.

Marion is on the right in the front row in the photograph.


  1. You can find a photo of Bodmer with the basketball team here:

    And - I think - Bodmer's wife's obit here:

    Dr. Meral S. Bodmer
    SELINSGROVE - Dr. Meral S. Bodmer, 82, formerly of Neitz Valley Road, Selinsgrove, passed away at 9:10 a.m. Monday, Dec. 14, 2009, at Bloomsburg Hospital. She had lived at the Millville Health Care Center since 1998.
    She was born April 24, 1927, in Izmir, Turkey. In 1961, she married Marion Bodmer, who preceded her in death in 1981.
    She was educated at Ankora University, Turkey, and after becoming a resident of the United States, she earned her medical degree, She completed residencies at Danville State Hospital, the State University of Iowa and the Springfield, Md., State Hospital.
    For more than 40 years, she had a general medical practice in Selinsgrove.
    She is survived by one daughter, Nursel B. Wells, of Gordonsville, Va.; one son, George K.A. Bodmer, of San Francisco; and two grandsons.
    Services will be announced at a later date by the V.L. Seebold Funeral Home, 601 N. High St., Selinsgrove.

    Kathy Padilla

  2. Looks like the archives for the local newspaper are all on microfiche. I hate microfiche!!! At least my eyes do as I grow older.

    The Danville News became part of the Ottaway group and affiliated with The Daily Item. In 2003, the newspaper moved its microfilm archive system to the Degenstein Library in Sunbury. During 2004, the company had a new press system installed.

    Work may bring me through that area at some time over the next year, if so - I'll pop in and see what I can find.


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