A South Jersey native was among those killed this week when an employee opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard.
Martin Bodrog spent part of his early childhood in Woodbury, just outside of Philadelphia. He attended high school in nearby Audubon where he was a varsity wrestler and football player.
Bodrog, 54, spent 22 years in the Navy before being hired as a contractor to help with its amphibious vessel programs. He worked out of the Pentagon until January, when he was transferred to the Navy Yard.
As a weekend memorial service approaches, family and friends fondly remembered “Marty” as a smart, but humble man who had a special way with people.
“If you looked at him, you saw this very strong, physical guy, but underneath it he was this incredibly gentle human being and had just incredible empathy for people,” said Michael Chiarappa, who was good friends with Bodrog in high school and after. “I think he really wanted to be an encouraging human being for people that were around him.”
Bodrog’s older brother, Julius, said Martin could get along with anyone, even fans rooting for another pro sports team.
“He could put on a Bruins hat and Bruins jersey and sit in the middle of 100 Flyer fans and they would be fast friends before the first period was over. That’s the type of guy he was,” said Julius Bodrog, one of Martin’s four siblings.
Bodrog is survived by his wife and three daughters.
A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday at Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield, Virgina, where Bodrog and his family prayed.
Julius Bodrog said his brother will eventually be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Monday’s shooting claimed 13 lives, including the gunman, Aaron Alexis.