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DODD, Percy William (1912-1999)

Born in Betley, Staffordshire. England on October 12, 1912, the third youngest of ten children to his father Thomas Dodd and mother Emma.

He lived and worked on a farm almost his entire working life. The only exception was his last job which was working for Long Lake Nursery when he moved into Nanaimo.

His father decided to go into farming at Ridley, Cheshire in 1914. On the first day of school in 1917, Bill (his mother called him Percy) saw a bully picking on another boy and he immediately proceed to give the bully a licking.

In 1920 the family his mother and father and all ten children moved to "Hill Farm" on Burwardsley Hill, Burwardsley. From when Bill (Percy) was 17 till he was 26 he was responsible for doing all the plowing with a team of horses and a single furrow 10" plow. He plowed 40 acres a year for ten years, that amounts to nearly 4000 miles of walking behind two horses.

When he was young he was quite the soccer player. He played for Burwardsley, Broxton . As quoted in the book "Burwardsley, the History of a Cheshire Village" by George Bramall; ".... remembers Perce Dodd's good right foot knocking a women spectator in the crowd down". In the late 30s he played as a semi-pro footballer for Altrincham FC (the Robins) until the spring of 1939. He always said that Manchester United (now the world's richest football team) asked him to play for them, but he turn them down to marry the love of his life, Bessie. While playing for Altrincham there was a small player being picked on by an opposing player, so he switched position with the smaller player, and the next time that opponent came down the wing he bent down an heaved the player into the stands. After that the opposition teams called him "Dirty Percy". It just showed that he was the defender of the weak.

In 1939 he married Bessie Proudlove who was from a family of twelve children (at one time when they where courting she moved to her bother Reg's farm in Wales (on Ruabon Mountain), and he would bicycle 23 miles after work to see her and back home again). This certainly made for lots of aunts and uncles and cousins.

From this union came six children. Brian, Pauline, the twins Bernard and Billy, Daphne and Stephen.

Father was prone to wander as he moved and dragged his family with him from Cheshire to Devon and then to North Wales.

In Devon (at Pinn) he found time to take part in one of his passions and that was soccer. I (Bill) have vivid memories of watching him play, of one of our teddy bears hanging in the net as the team mascot and riding home from games singing "One man went to mow" and "Ten green bottles".

He captained his team (Otterton United) to the league championship and he loved to show the pictures, medals and shield to anyone who wanted to see it.

The Dodd family emigrated from Wales to Canada in 1957. As I recall he borrowed $1500 from the Canadian Government to pay for the fare and then repaid it at $15 per month. This showed his commitment that when he gave his word he kept it and fulfilled his obligations. In the scrap book at home are copies of his commitment as a youngster not to consume any alcoholic beverages. And he never did. That is commitment.

The family moved into a small house on a market garden just north of Winnipeg. It had three bedrooms, Kitchen and Outhouse. The family remained there till the end of the summer. Then Percy moved to a Mixed farm outside Portage la Prairie, but this time he shed two of his children, namely Brian and Pauline since they had got jobs in Winnipeg. Brian was working for the City of Winnipeg and Pauline was working for the Hudson's Bay Company.

While attending First Baptist Church in Portage la Prairie in Manitoba that he gave his heart to the Lord. This was when his spiritual wandering ceased and his life took on a new meaning.

After one more move to another Market garden[*]  in Portage, he left most of his children on the Canadian Prairies and with Bessie and Stephen, he moved to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island in 1964. Here he continued in farming, working on a Dairy farm [*] just south of Nanaimo. Slowly three of his children moved out to Vancouver Island, I (Brian) guess they got home sick or missed their Mom and Dad.

His last job was at Long Lake Nursery, where his oldest son applied for the job for him because he was working at the time. Mr. Jones said that he decided to hire Percy after taking to his son, because anyone with such a good son must be all right.

He was forced to retire at the early age of 59 in 1972, in the next year with the help of his children he bought a small house[*] in south Nanaimo more or less in the country side. He lived here for the rest of his life (except for the his last few months in an Old Folks Home).

After his retirement he took up another of his passion, and that was fishing [*]. He bought a small 12' inboard "put put" boat. He would take the boat out to Jack Point at the mouth of the Nanaimo River, and anyone who would go with him, and fish there for hours. He enjoyed fishing so much that some time it would be dark by the time he brought his boat in. Between his gardening (he had a green thumb) and fishing he kept him and Bessie fed for many years.

In the late seventies he suffered a severe stroke and for a while was not expected to recover. But he did. This showed us one of his character traits. His determination to carry on and work through problems. Not only did he overcome his stroke but he and mother (Bessie) became founding members of  the Nanaimo Stroke Club and for many years they were very active in the Club, and spent countless hours encouraging others. He attended the clubs functions almost till the end.

Over the years he came to grow in his faith and got to know his Lord in a deeper way. He was also faithful in working for his Master and until his health failed him was active in this church here in Nanaimo. He considered his work in the Stoke Club as a mission the Lord gave him to do.

In 1989 Bessie and Percy celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary[*]. All of his children and their spouses and most of his great grand children came to the joyous occasion. It was held at his oldest grandchild's "farm" in Coombs. A great feast was had, including an anniversary cake. And the evening was capped off with a fireworks[*] display. He also had a little ceremony to burn the mortgage on his house[*], they had paid for the house in 17 years.

While he was in BC his earthly family continued to grow and now there a numerous grandchildren who have given him numerous great grandchildren (especially on the Mulholland side) and even one great great grandchild.

In October 1992 the family got together again to celebrate his 80th birthday. Even though this was a joyous day, it was also the last time all his children were together with him and mother at the same time. He was even caught kicking around a soccer ball.

Along with great joy comes sorrow. He was predeceased by his granddaughter Rachel (1973-1992) and by his daughter Daphne (1946-1994).

He loved his family. He was dearly loved by his wife, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. He was a tease and loved to laugh. As Denise shared with me (Bill), she said she could picture Grandpa in Jesus' arms laughing and joking around.

Two other attributes that he had was honesty and integrity.

His faith has been an example to us all and I (Bill) recall in my own life, in my early thirties when I realized the importance of my father in my life and the influence that he had on me.

His faith is his legacy.

He always believed that God would answer his prayers and that God will still be faithful and answer his prayers yet now that he has gone from us. The great joy that we can have is that we have the opportunity to see him again. The angels are rejoicing because he has gone to his reward, we can do no less.

After his passing Bessie found in his papers "Percy's Life Story". He must have written it soon after he had his stroke in 1977.

Family pictures:

1919 - With his brother George (he's the one sitting)

1923 - His sister Alice's wedding (he's the one behind the dog's head).

1939 - Percy and Bessie's Wedding.

1950 - Winning a Ribbon at the Newton Poppleford fair.

1966 - Grandad Dodd II (here he looks like his dad)

1992 - At 80 he's still able to kick a football.

1999 - Obituary.

Many thanks to Bill Dodd for the "Tribute to Percy W. Dodd - 1912-1999" given at his memorial service on January 26th, 1999. Much of this article is based on that tribute, additional comments have been added by Brian Dodd. Copyrighted 1999-2001 by the Dodd Family.