Leaving behind a loving legacy of dignity, humility and grace, Richard Lewis Woodard — quietly and unassuming as always — passed away peacefully and painlessly in the wee hours of a late summer morning Sept. 4, 2020, at The Residence of Chardon (Ohio). He was 91.
Born 19, 1928, Richard was 1946 graduate of Chester (Ohio) High School. He worked for Finch Cleaners right out of school.
Richard played on a summer-league baseball team that included a couple of Chardon brothers who were normally his alma mater’s rivals on the ballfield. It turns out these two had a sister who drew Richard’s eye. And vice versa. So, on June 26, 1950, Richard wed Lois Jean Chapman, and the couple recently commemorated their 70th wedding anniversary.
During the Korean War, Richard served in the U.S. Army as a car-pool transport driver in Panama from 1952-54, and afterward was employed as a shipping and receiving clerk for Chardon Rubber Co. He also worked various part-time jobs for several friends and family members.
By the mid-1960s, he was ready for a change. And what a change he made, joining the emerging field of computer technology. While still working day shifts for the rubber company, he would drive to Cleveland three times a week to attend night school and earn his certificate as a computer programmer. In 1967, he was hired as a data processor by Newbury Industries, in Newbury Township, where he worked until his retirement in 1992.
Known for his go-with-the-flow manner and dry sense of humor, Richard also was widely regarded for his steady, lifelong commitment to helping others. It came very naturally to him, even when it put him in danger. On a pre-dawn drive to work one chilly autumn morning in 1962, he pulled off the side of the road to help a broken-down motorist and was struck by an oncoming car. He sustained a leg injury that, while not life-threatening, took some time and patience to heal.
Richard tirelessly provided for his family by working multiple jobs for many years, coaching Little League teams and leading weekend family camping trips. He loved to be outdoors — hunting, fishing, camping, golfing, mowing and, yes, even snowblowing. (Living in the snow capital of Ohio never slowed him down in the winter.)
He had the most natural knack for excelling in sports. A league bowler with a 180-plus average, he would need to pick up a golf club, billiards cue or ping-pong paddle only periodically and you likely would have met your match. He also loved his Sunday morning skeet-shooting sessions with his sidekick brother-in-law Ron.
Richard was a man of his word who lived by the motto, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.” After retirement, the “right” thing for him and Lois to do was spend their winters as snowbirds in central Florida, expanding an ever-widening circle of friends, taking in Cleveland Indians spring-training games and enjoying the many facets of Disney World.
For many years, they enjoyed September reunions with friends from the Army days, gathering in such locales as Branson, Mo., Waco, Texas, and Nashville, Tenn. They also traveled out west, to Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota, on memorable trips with their children and with Lois’ brother Bill and his wife, Jeanie.
Richard is survived by the love of his life, his wife of 70 years, Lois; son, Jeffrey, of Lakewood, Ohio; daughter, Lori, of Solon; and many loving in-laws, nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Justin L. and Mabel N. Woodard; and sisters, Virginia Blasko, Eileen Grant, Harriet Tarro and Mary Veltman.
An outdoor celebration-of-life service will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, at the Chardon Rotary Shelter at Mountain Run Station, 12700 Chardon-Windsor Road, Chardon. (The family will practice social distancing.)
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to Rescue Village, 15463 Chillicothe Road, Novelty, OH 44072; or All Caring Hospice, 5000 Rockside Road, Suite 100, Independence, OH 44131.
The family wishes to extend heaps of heartfelt gratitude to the compassionate staff at The Residence of Chardon assisted-living facility and to All Caring Hospice of Independence, Ohio. We count you atop our list of blessings each and every day.
Arrangements by Burr Funeral Home of Chardon. Information and condolences online at www.burrservice.com.