Genevieve Johnson Woodard, 87, of McMinnville, Oregon, died peacefully from being weakened by COVID-19 on Saturday, December 19, 2020.
She was born March 3, 1933, in Brundidge, Ala., to Andrew Foman Johnson and Verdie Lee (Hildreth) Johnson. She graduated from Asbury College, now Asbury University, in 1953, Cum Laude. She met and married her husband, Otis Jack Woodard, Jr., there, teaching elementary school while he worked on his medical degree and became a psychiatrist. For many years, she was the office manager of the medical practice in Albany, Ga. She trained in Transactional Analysis and did private consultation and group work. They retired in 2010.
Genevieve loved music and was music. She was exceptional at both the piano and church organ. She was the high school glee club’s pianist while in junior high. She mastered and then transcended the limitations of technique; her entire being flowed through her music and uplifted all fortunate enough to hear her play. She brought people together not just through music, but food, hearth, and an unparalleled generosity of spirit. She was one of the “cool” mothers when her children were in school, a popular chaperone for outings, and welcoming of boisterous gatherings of high-spirited young people. Her spirit, after all, was forever young.
Supportive and encouraging, she was a “steel magnolia” when the occasion called for it. Like many, she faced significant challenges in life. She had a knack for accepting and facing difficulties and working with them as best she could. Her motto was, “We are all in this together.” Her authenticity and humor were disarming. She loved a good laugh and enjoyed making you laugh. She would say things she probably should not have said, catch you a bit by surprise, and then you would realize she was being herself in a way most people dared not.
Genevieve and her husband lived in Albany for over three decades. They moved to Clayton in the North Georgia mountains after the Great Flood of 1994 destroyed their office, The Human Growth Center. In 2011, they moved to McMinnville, Oregon, to be close to their children. They were captured by the beauty of the Pacific Northwest and found great joy and delight in the Olympia National Forest and their adventures to Hawaii and Alaska. In the McMinnville Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of McMinnville, Genevieve found her spiritual home and was active in the fellowship there.
She is survived by daughter Marian Woodard and her husband John Matthesen, and her son Otis Jack Woodard and his wife, Sara Owens Woodard.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her son, Andrew Ralston Woodard, and her husband in 2015.
A celebration of her life will be held in January. The family welcomes memories and comments on her Tribute Wall at www.macyandson.com. In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to the Nature Conservancy, National Audubon Society, or Yamhill County Action Partnership.