An industrious life recalled

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Hundreds of people attended the funeral of retired Sheffield businessman and former High Sheriff John Boddy, after his sudden death aged 76.

John, from Ranmoor, was heavily involved in the coal trade with his family’s firm, Thomas Black Ltd – later Boddy Industries – and held senior posts with organisations including the Coal Industry Society and the Coal Trade Benevolent Association, where he was twice national chairman.

For many years he was also chairman of Firth’s Almshouses on Nethergreen Road – a row of houses endowed to charity in 1869 by Mark Firth.

John was born in 1939 in Bamford where his family had evacuated to during the war from Gladstone Road, Ranmoor. His education took in S. Anselm’s in Bakewell – where he later served as a school governor for 40 years – Stowe School in Buckinghamshire and a year in Switzerland.

His early working days were at Steel, Peach and Tozer in Rotherham. John then joined Thomas Black, which was founded by his grandfather. When the company became Boddy Industries, John worked in coal and oil distribution, and a short spell limestone quarrying in Buxton.

Subsequently the firm was bought by English China Clay, and although John was offered the chance to move to Jersey, he declined and left the company. John became a director of the Benevolent Association in 1967. The group became a large part of his life, and continued after his retirement.

He was a freeman of the Cutlers’ Company, and was appointed High Sheriff of South Yorkshire in 1989. His first official engagement was the FA Cup semi-final during which 96 Liverpool supporters died – an occasion he found hard to come to terms with.

Away from business, John was a fan of rugby union and cricket, and a keen golfer. He joined Lindrick Golf Club near Worksop at the age of seven and remained a member for nearly 70 years. He became the club’s captain in 1984, and was president from 2000 to 2002.

John died of a sudden heart attack on March 16. His funeral at St John’s Church, Ranmoor, was attended by more than 400 friends and family.

He leaves his wife of more than 50 years, Pam, sons Julian and Jason and two granddaughters, Celia and Imogen.

John and Pam spent their married life in Holmesfield, Derbyshire, and also had a home in the Algarve, Portugal.