Obituary: Robert Woodruff, 1941-2011
Robert Whitehill Woodruff passed away March 22, 2011 at Rose Arbor Hospice in Kalamazoo, Mich. from complications associated with Parkinson’s disease. He was 69.
He was born Oct. 23, 1941 in Petoskey, Michigan, the son of Robert and Margaret Woodruff. He graduated from Petoskey High School in 1960. He was named an All-State running back in football, received an appointment to the United States Naval Academy, and later attended Kalamazoo College where he was a member of their undefeated football team of 1962. He was forever proud of that achievement, and the team’s recent induction into the college’s Hall of Fame. They have, to this day, maintained the comaraderie of its members and their wonderful coaches Rolla Anderson and George Acker.
Bob worked at FAG bearings (now the Schaffler Group) and for a time at Seeley Ford. He moved from Michigan to Breckenridge, CO. where he met his future wife Patricia McKay; they were together 29 years. He always loved tinkering with cars, but fell in love with rugby and became a player, then a coach for the local team, the Gentlemen of the Blue Goose. While in Breckenridge, he and Pat built a log home together with the occasional yet dedicated assistance of his club players.
His last productive nine years of his life were spent in Twisp, Washington where he, Pat and her sister, Carolyn, owned a beautiful piece of land on the Methow River. Throughout his life he loved to sing songs (some a bit salty) and converse with people of all walks of life. He often tried to encourage positive activities out of young men who had more unfortunate lives. This was probably in part a response to the struggles he had wrestling with manic depression, especially through his early years as an adult.
He is survived by his wife Patricia McKay; daughter Mary Brooke Woodruff of Kalamazoo; granddaughters Mara and Sophia, and great granddaughter Alicea; a sister Ann (Dave) Martin; brother John (Rita) Woodruff; and sister Marcia (John) Teichman; and all of their respective families.
A memorial service was held at First United Methodist Church of Kalamazoo, Tues., March 29, 2011 at 11 a.m. Contributions can be made to Hospice Care of SW Michigan, or to Aurora Saracens at aurorayouthrugby.com. Bob has many friends who showed their concern throughout his illness; his family thanks them all for the support they have given.
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