Garry Lee Woodruff of Olds, Alberta, passed away August 3, 2019. He was born April 12, 1940, the son of Vibert Woodruff and Henrietta (Bohne) Woodruff. He was raised on a farm near Hartley, Alberta, where there was never a shortage of siblings, cousins, and friends to share in the work and play. After serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in South Carolina and Alabama, he studied education at the University of Alberta, where he met and married Janis Fisher. Several years after he began teaching, he returned to Edmonton for summer school in order to complete his Bachelor of Education degree.
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Garry taught school in Didsbury for one year before he was hired as principal and teacher of the grade 7/8 class of Reed Ranch School. He enjoyed warm associations with the close-knit community there. Later, he taught English and Social Studies at the Olds High School. Highlights of his teaching career included taking groups of students camping and hiking, and teaching choral speech. After he retired, he was always thrilled to meet former students, their children and their grandchildren in town.
Garry had a life-long love for music, from leading a church choir as a teenager, through singing baritone in the U of A Mixed Chorus, to singing with the Olds Harmonizers in the last year of his life. An ardent gardener, he took great pride in the blue-ribbon raspberries, potatoes and carrots that he shared with family and friends. There were few home renovation projects that he couldn’t manage: he worked alongside his sons to finish the basement of his house between cancer treatments at the age of 77. He served in innumerable volunteer roles in the church and community, from helping people discover their ancestors to organizing events for the Kiwanis Music Festival.
No role was more important to Dad than those of son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. His devotion and friendship with his wife Jan endured and flourished through nearly fifty-five years of all the ups and downs of family life. He leaves a legacy of faith, humour, love and example to his loved ones: siblings Viberta (Dan) Lybbert (passed away 2014), Bonnie (Mac) Smith, Dianne (Blaine) Mortenson, Boyd (Cheryl) Woodruff, Verle (Linda) Woodruff, Doug (Vivian) Woodruff, Morgan (Tami) Woodruff, Norma (Craig) Bullock, and Royce (Melody) Woodruff; children Gina (John) Bennett, Annette (Andrew) Reil, Bruce (Cheri) Woodruff, Cal (Kim) Woodruff, and Melissa (Scott) Mostert; 25 grandchildren, 6 great-grandchildren (and counting!); and an abundance of cousins, nieces, nephews and friends.
Many thanks to Dad’s doctors, the wonderful staff at the Olds Hospital and the Seasons Encore Retirement Community for their dedicated and compassionate care, and especially to the amazing volunteers at the Olds and District Hospice Society for providing a setting of dignity and security in which we could cherish our final months with this wonderful man.