Roy Everett Woodard, a United States Air Force veteran and resident of George County, Mississippi, died in Mobile on December 31, 2020 at age 86. Born to R.E. and Valera (nee Cannon) Woodard on February 19, 1934, Roy spent his early years in the isolated turpentine camps of south Alabama and Mississippi. In the early 1940s the family relocated to the Mobile area, living in Prichard, on Dog River, and eventually in the Crawford community. Known to some as Everett and to others as Woodie, Roy graduated from Semmes High School in 1951. He studied at Spring Hill College, then enlisted in the USAF, where he was trained for a career in nuclear medicine. During his 23 years in the military, he was stationed in Montgomery, AL, Tokyo, Japan, and Biloxi, Mississippi — all bases with important hospitals offering nuclear medical diagnostic and therapeutic screening. After retirement he continued working past his 70th birthday, first for the VA, then for private hospitals and medical practices.
Roy married his high school sweetheart, Ferris Riel. The couple spent more than six decades together and eventually welcomed five children: Heidi, Tim, Mike, Brenda and Kathy. A talented young artist, he often drew to amuse his two little sisters. He was a fan of traditional country music and had memorized a good many Hank Williams songs. Roy was also an avid reader, partial to westerns, who kept numbers of books in circulation, passing them on to any interested taker. His amusing and pithy comments on the world around him were prized and he never lost the ability to make them. Many young relatives had their first tractor rides thanks to him, and not long ago he reportedly taught a tiny great granddaughter to refer to her food as “grub.”
For his 70th birthday family and friends from far and wide converged on his home to help raise a workshop, where he would spend many hours, building shelves for grandchildren, constructing an ingenious, vermin-proof cart for hauling garbage cans, and repairing a variety of machines and appliances. His projects all showed the meticulous workmanship that was his trademark. None of the family remembers his ever turning down an appeal for help, and he always showed up when he said he was going to, although his drill sergeant’s approach to teamwork occasionally bruised some feelings. He planned several renovation projects, no doubt meaning them to last through any hurricane, though some labeled his plans “overbuilding.” His daughter considered him the World’s Handiest Dad, although Roy always claimed not to be an expert.
Predeceased by his parents, a son, Michael D. Woodard, a daughter, Kathy Woodard Wade, and younger brother, J.B. Woodard.
Roy is survived by his wife of 63 years, Ferris. He will be sadly missed by his son, Timothy J. and daughters, Brenda (Walter) Corley and Heidi Nash; grandchildren, Christopher (Cassandra) Woodard and Jonathan (Billi) Dale, Josh and Amber Woodard, Rachel and Matt (Kaylee) Corley, Magan (Kyle) Bedwell and Brett Wade, Matt Murray and Molly Alexander; and fifteen great-grandchildren; sisters, Eugenia (Jim) Sullivan and Patricia (Elliott) Kaback; a nephew, two nieces, and numerous cousins.
A celebration of life is being planned at this time.
Expressions of condolence for the family may be made at www.hughesfh.com. Hughes Funeral Home, 26209 Pollard Road, Daphne, AL, is handling service arrangements for the family.