May 2015 Bar Bulletin
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May 2015 Bar Bulletin

In Remembrance - Craig Dodel

By Judge Douglas J. Smith


Some attorney's lives (or the way we perceive them) are defined by their occupation. For Craig Dodel, being a successful lawyer was what he did professionally, but being a loving husband, father and athlete was who he was.

As former Assistant U.S. Attorney Doug Whalley might say, "Of course he was a lawyer. He went to Roosevelt, didn't he?"

I was blessed to know Craig for 40 years. First, I knew him as the father of three sons the same age as our three boys. They all went to the same schools and played on the same football, soccer, basketball and baseball teams growing up.

Craig and I (and the boys) were in the same Shoreline "Y-Guides" program together. Our group stayed together - water skiing, traveling and playing sports together - well beyond the "official" years of the program. I still have a picture of Craig "rounding the bases after homering" in our backyard "Wiffle Ball stadium."

In 1990, Craig and his wife Christy (and the boys) were big supporters in my only contested judicial race, and my family so appreciated their efforts. Later, Craig took on a private adoption on our behalf (pro bono, of course). What a gift.

I read how Craig really knew how to treat his wife by his love, attention, flowers, cards, etc. I was blessed to have known both of his wives, Christy and Claudia. Obviously, I knew Christy must longer (until she lost her battle with cancer). Then, after meeting Claudia I saw her constant love and devotion was so obvious that I felt I had known her for some time. She welcomed me when I visited Craig; both at his Kirkland and later his Edmond rehab facilities. Thank you, Claudia.

Although he suffered from Lewy body dementia, Craig, being such a positive individual, tended to remember the funny experiences - alcohol somehow showing up in camping trips; our kids' various sports events; and my personal, all-time favorite remembrance.

This occurred one night at a Senior Little League game in Hamlin Park, Shoreline. Two fathers literally got into a fistfight on the field in front of the players, coaches and umpires. One dad had too much liquid anti-freeze in his system. The other had real anger management issues.

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