Gunnar (Gunner) Walter Bodneck, an attorney who practiced in Tehachapi for more than 20 years, died May 28 at the Bakersfield Heart Hospital.
Mr. Bodneck was born in 1926 in Latvia in the Baltic Sea region and spent time as a teenager in Germany. In the early 1950s he managed to get to Canada where he worked for a large banking firm. His brother-in-law, at that time living with his family in Buffalo, N.Y., acted as a guarantor for Mr. Bodneck to come to the U.S. where he attended law school in San Francisco and also worked as an officer at the Bank of the America. He passed his bar exam and began a life as a family law attorney and counselor. He was an active member of the State Bar of California since 1970.
He had offices in West Los Angeles area and opened his office in Tehachapi more than 20 years ago. He made many friends and clients and, according to family and friends, also a few enemies in the legal business. They said his last years in the business were very difficult.
An entrepreneur, he also sold kit “post and beam” homes through a company from Washington State, many of which are still located around Tehachapi and surrounding areas.
Funeral services are pending while his relatives who live in Germany make arrangements for his return there to be buried near his sister Inge.
He grew up with elderly twin sisters in Latvia. He had a very close relationship with one of them, Inge, who passed away in 1996. She visited Gunnar regularly in Tehachapi and they enjoyed traveling together.
In 1993 he was able to satisfy his long-held desire to visit the Latvian cities of Riga and Mitau with his sister. The Bodneck family lived peacefully in those cities before the start of World War II.
In 2007 he was able to make his last visit to Germany to celebrate the wedding of his grandniece with his family.
Family and friends remember Mr. Bodneck as humorous, full of energy, and very dynamic. He was always joking and was of good spirits. He had an excellent memory and was an appreciated participant in discussions. And he would sit and talk about the Lord, and loved to read the Bible, he would say, “I cannot complain to God, how can I, He knows my plight.”
As friend John Gonzales said, “Gunner now knows, ‘To Die is Gain’ and John 3:16.”