Dr. Woodard ~ F-Faculty 1984 – 1991
Arrived ~ 8/22/43
Departed ~ 9/17/21
Lovingly written and submitted by her son Eric Woodard ISB Class of 1991
With the complete sadness of my entire heart for the coming days we will miss her on this earth, but joy and gratitude for the eternity that will be ours to share with her by God’s grace, I (Eric Woodard) must announce that my dear sweet momma Dixie Woodard has been called to the almighty loving glory of heaven’s host (September 17, 2021).
Besides myself my momma is survived by her husband and partner in life through 51 years of thick and thin John Woodard. She is also survived by her daughter-in-law and my wife Keri Woodard, who she loved so much. Perhaps dearest to her heart, she is also survived by our four children – her grandchildren: Fletcher, Piper, Deacon, and Jasper.
Dr. Dixie Racheal Woodard was born on August 22, 1943 in Kansas City, MO to her loving parents George and Vernelle Wilson. Arriving 13+ years after her older siblings Jerry, Marjorie, and Shirley, my momma was the baby of her family. Shortly after she was born her family moved to the family farm in Keytesville, MO where she grew up among cows and pigs and chickens and goats and sheep. This is where she learned how to grow anything.
After graduating from Keytesville High School in 1961 she and her parents moved to Marshall, MO where she attended Missouri Valley College. Marshall would become the unifying place for her early life. It was from there that she taught in various schools in Texas, Kentucky, and all across Missouri. During this time she earned her Masters from Central Missouri State University in 1968 and married my father John Woodard on June 6, 1970. Marshall is also the place where she hatched me. I feel so so lucky to have had her as my momma. Between 1974 and 1982 she served as principal under the Missouri State School System for the Severely Handicapped at several schools in Marshall and Columbia, MO.
In 1982 our family moved to southern Thailand where my momma taught at the Prince of Songkla University Demonstration School and conducted research on the role of rural school principals for her doctorate, which she received in 1983 from the University of Missouri. In 1984 our family moved to Bangkok, where she taught first and second grade at the International School of Bangkok for next 8 years.
In 1994 my mom and dad moved to Guam, where my momma taught elementary school with Guam Public Schools for a year before joining the faculty of University of Guam as an Associate Professor under the College of Education.
In 2000 she moved to Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, DC where, in her retirement, she occasionally taught courses at American University, and attended countless cultural events across our Nation’s capital. This is where she was so happy to see me get married and meet her four grandbabies between 2008-2018.
My momma was a teacher. The number of people all across the world that learned to read – or learned how to teach others to read – through her master teaching is inestimable. So many times, when many said, “that kid just can’t learn to read” she would say, “let me try” and that kid would read. If you were ever a student of my momma, know that she loves you and still believes in you.
My momma loved all sorts of music, especially live music. She would listen to Mariachi bands for hours. She would sit and listen to traditional Chinese instruments play till the wee hours of the night. One of my earliest memories if of her crying when Elvis died. When I did plays and musicals and sang in choirs, she always came to every single one of my performances; every single one (and there were A LOT).
My momma loved to grow things and could grow anything. She would take her grandkids through her garden and let them pick cucumbers and peppers and tomatoes and everything right off the vine so they could eat them right there.
My momma was a Christian. Throughout her life she was very active in whichever church she served (Disciples of Christ and otherwise). She respected people of all faiths. She taught me about love and faith and hope. The Force has always been with her.
My momma loved dogs. She had them through her whole life. I know Webster and Puppy and Cider and all the others are wagging their heavenly tails with her now.
My momma was a fighter. She never tolerated anybody putting her down, or putting her family down, ever. Over the last year of her life she fought so bravely through a number of ailments to get every last minute she could to be with those she loved and those who love her so so so much.
My momma taught me I can do anything, and I believe her. Even though she won’t be here to remind me about this in person anymore, I know her spirit will be; I already feel it.
I will miss and think about my momma every day for the rest of my life. I am so sad right now, but I know there will be brighter days and, over the mighty horizon we must all one day cross, she will be there waiting for us with love and open arms. I am so grateful that I had her as my momma, she did such a great job in her life, and I love her so much.
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