Cover photo for Thomas Woodard, Sr.'s Obituary
Thomas Woodard, Sr. Profile Photo
1928 Thomas 2022

Thomas Woodard, Sr.

February 7, 1928 — February 12, 2022

Thomas Andrew Woodard, Sr, passed peacefully at home on February 12, 2022, with his loving wife Ruth Woodard at his side. His family was with him in spirit and in his heart, having just celebrated his 94th birthday. Tom was born upstairs, above Woodard Bakery, to Wells C. Woodard, Sr and Blanche Cowan Woodard on February 7, 1928, in what is now the Registered Historic “Woodard Building” in Morrisville, VT. Tom graduated from People’s Academy in Morrisville while also working at his parents’ bakery. Tom was famous for his skill and speed at ribboning candy (a customer favorite!). He served from 1946-1949 in the Army Air Force and was awarded the Victory Medal. He was honorably discharged as a Staff Sargeant. Tom enrolled at the University of Vermont while working full-time and raising a family with his then-wife, Janice. Studying wasn’t easy in the Quonset hut housing provided by UVM for married military veteran students. It took seven long years, but Tom graduated with degrees in both Mathematics and Nuclear Physics. Tom worked briefly on a nuclear reactor before taking a job in the Armaments Department of General Electric in Burlington. After 32 years, his position was eliminated. Tom was never one to sit around the house, so he took a job bagging groceries at Hannafords. However, Tom soon found the work he truly loved, working at the State Police Headquarters in Waterbury in the Department of Emergency Management. He stayed there for 20 years, retiring at (only) 83 years old! The course of Tom’s life was changed when his son, Tom Jr, was in a motorcycle accident which left him a paraplegic. When he discovered that Tom Jr’s outcome may have been different had trained medical professionals been there to help at the scene, Tom vowed to learn all he could, so he would know what to do in emergency situations. Despite not being a student there, Tom was accepted to St. Michael’s College Rescue and slept at Founder’s Hall when he was on duty. After 10 years, he joined Essex Rescue. In addition to his regular shifts and training, Tom was a “jumper” – going to help folks in the outlying areas of Underhill and Jericho until an ambulance could arrive. His scanner and beeper were on 24/7 and there is no way to know how many people Tom helped and lives he saved. He also served as Crew Chief and Training Officer over the years. His co-workers remarked how it is easy to start an IV in a hospital but try doing it for someone bouncing down a dirt road in the back of an ambulance! Tom was one of the best. He was so proud to be an Honoary Member of the Underhill/Jericho Fire Department where he “jumped” their calls often times avoiding the need for the ambulance to respond. He was always equipped and ready to administer advanced first aid quickly to those involved in any way with the fire or accident. It was through this selfless work that Tom met Ruth Walker (Pfingst), who would become his second wife. They were married on December 12, 1992 and built a wonderful, active life together. In addition to enjoying square dancing and working in his large garden, Tom loved animals and caring for them. Ruth introduced him to the world of show dogs and dog rescue. There were always dogs and cats in their house, and he was surely overwhelmed with them when he reached the Rainbow Bridge! They belonged to several dog clubs over the years, including the Champlain Valley Kennel Club and the Northern Vermont Dog Club, now the Burlington Obedience Training Club. Tom kept one of the puppies they bred, then trained and showed her to her CD, the Companion Dog title in Obedience. Additionally, he had a special bond with Annie, an abused dog he rescued, gaining her trust and love when no one else could. Together with Ruth, he started the Green Mountain Golden Retriever Club. They opened their home to senior and special needs Goldens who were able to live out their lives with dignity, love and compassion. At one point Tom and Ruth provided a home to 14 Goldens at once! The annual Labor Day gathering of GoldStock was always blessed with countless friends and fellow dog lovers. Tom was a member of the Mt. Mansfield Lodge #26 F&AM, as well as being a member of the Shriners. He loved sharing his beautiful, baritone voice with the church choirs in Underhill and Essex Jct. and served on various committees throughout the years. He also took great joy in performing in musicals, proudly playing Enoch Snow in “Carousel” and delighting the Sunday School children as the title character in their show, “The Late Great Potentate”. He loved working with children, and they loved him back. Tom was known for his quick wit and snappy comebacks, but more importantly, his deep caring and compassion for others. He gave freely of his time and money when folks needed it. He set an example for his children to follow – working hard, maintaining discipline, and encouraging them to be independent. Tom is survived by his loving wife Ruth (Walker) Woodard; his son Brian Woodard (Gloria); his daughters Marilyn Woodard Chong, Robin Woodard Hee, and Carolyn Woodard Arnold (Duaine). He also leaves stepsons David Pfingst (Christina) and Jason Pfingst (Renee). He is survived by his grandchildren; Stacey Hee Cantu (David); Nicole Hee; Erica Chong Lee (Daniel); Nicholas, Emily, and Jayme Arnold; and Joe Pfingst. He was also blessed with his great-grandchildren; Aiden, Evan and Caleb Cantu; and Brayden Lee, as well as many much-loved nieces, nephews and cousins. He was predeceased by his siblings; Wells Woodard Jr and his wife Mary; and Ruth Woodard Sykas and her husband Thomas Sykas Sr. He was also predeceased by his son, Thomas Andrew Woodard, Jr and three infant children – Mary Jane, Michael and Danny. A service and celebration of life of Thomas A Woodard Sr. will be held on Saturday, June 18th at 11am at the Fraternal Order of Eagles located at 42 Centre Dr. in Milton, Vermont. The corner of Centre and Bombardier across from the Rescue, Police and Fire Departments. The service will begin at 11am followed by light refreshments and a chance to share stories and memories. We know it is a very busy weekend but would so love to have all who knew and loved him to come help us celebrate his long and wonderful life with the understanding those who can’t be with us will be there in spirit! Please consider the following suggestions for donations in his memory: Alzheimer’s Association: Golden Retriever Club of America GRCA – Golden Retriever Foundation Attn: Zeke Cancer Research PO Box 952732; St. Louis, MO 63195-2732 Underhill/Jericho Fire Dept. PO Box 150 Underhill, VT 05489 Local Milton, (Milton, VT) Essex, (Essex Jct. VT) and St. Michaels (Colchester, VT) Rescue Squads
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Minor Funeral and Cremation Center

42 Centre Dr, VT 05468

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