Stephen C. Woodard, 71, of Shrewsbury, passed away suddenly on Friday, June 2. Steve was the eldest child of the late Vernon O. and Bernice F. (McCaughey) Woodard.
He was born in 1946 in Memphis, Tennessee, where his parents were briefly stationed following World War II, but he was raised in Closter. He graduated from Northern Valley Regional High School where he was a champion quarter-miler. Maintaining his love of running for many years, Steve was a proud finisher of the New York City Marathon in 1982.
Steve earned a B.A. degree from Duke University in 1967, and remained an avid Blue Devil supporter throughout his life. After Duke, at the height of the Vietnam War, Steve joined the U.S. Navy as an ensign and served as a supply officer on the U.S.S. Little Rock in the Mediterranean.
He earned an MBA at Syracuse University and enjoyed a long professional career as a human resources executive with Mutual of New York, Smith Barney and Citigroup. He completed his professional career as vice president – human resources at T&M Associates in Middletown.
In 1962 Steve met Toby Cohen, the love of his life, “in a sandbox” when they were both counselors at a summer camp in Rockleigh. Steve and Toby married in 1968 and, after the Navy, settled in Syracuse, New York, before moving to Shrewsbury in 1978 where they raised their two children. Active in community life, Steve served on the Shrewsbury Borough School Board and refereed many youth sports teams.
On September 11, 2001, Steve was at work at 7 World Trade Center when the terror attack occurred. Employees were quickly ordered to evacuate building 7 which ultimately collapsed among all the other wreckage. While escorting a mentally challenged boy down the stairs to ensure his safety, Steve was among the fortunate ash-covered survivors who made his way home across the river and to his family that day.
Steve and Toby created a life built around family and friends, with their happy home always at the center of gatherings and celebrations. They welcomed every guest warmly, and Steve would demonstrate his grilling, cocktail-making and wine-pouring skills – dispensed with his customary dry wit. An intrepid organizer, Steve’s planned golf trips to Hilton Head, rafting adventures, and cross-country skiing outings to Lake Placid were just a few of the many trips that hold warm and wonderful memories for family and friends. Whenever sought, Steve was known for his wise and down-to-earth counsel, and his kind and generous heart was open to all who knew him.
Steve happily retired in 2008 and began to pursue with enthusiasm his life-long love of travel. He was especially proud of the map displayed in the family room which depicts all the places, foreign and domestic, he visited with Toby, his family and friends. Above all, Steve adored his family, and was espe- cially devoted to Toby, his children and his grandchildren, all of whom love him beyond measure.
Steve is survived by his wife, Toby Susan (Cohen) Woodard; his daughter, Simone Monahan and her husband, John, of Shrewsbury; and his son, Matthew Woodard and his wife, Susan, of San Francisco, California. He was the adored and proud “Papa” to his four grandchildren, Aileen and Jack Monahan, and Claire and Sabrina Woodard. Steve was the cherished and revered brother of Thomas (Debbie) Woodard and Vicki (Andrew Johnston) Woodard; and the beloved brother-in-law of Alan (Kathleen Davis) Cohen, David (Barbara Kaul) Cohen and Gene (Rudy) Gilbert. Steve is also survived by many loving nieces, nephews, and countless friends.
Steve left us suddenly and far too soon. He has left behind a vast emptiness for those closest to him, but for whom the loving memories will slowly fill.
A memorial service will be held at the Monmouth Reform Temple, 332 Hance Ave., Tinton Falls, on Thursday, June 8, at 10 a.m. The family will receive guests at the Woodard home following the service.
In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that contributions may be made in Steve’s name to a charity of one’s choice. The Thompson Memorial Home, 310 Broad St., Red Bank, is in charge of arrangements.
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