E.L. Woodard

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E L WOODARD, 79 MACHESNEY PARK - E L Woodard was 79 years old. Brother Woodard departed this life Thursday, April 29, in his home in Machesney Park, after a brief illness. He went home to be with the Lord, peacefully. Born April 11, 1931, in Simpson County, Miss., to Ardell and Eunice Woodard. He was the fifth child of 19 children born to this union. He grew up in a devout Christian home on the 240 acre family farm in Mississippi. Brother Woodard accepted Christ as his personal savior as a young child. He completed his early education at Lily Hill School in Pinola, Miss. Brother Woodard was married to the former Hattie Black and to this union six children were born: four sons, Terry, Frederick, Jeffery and Brian; and two daughters, Donna and Michelle. He later married Martha Jack. As a military veteran, Brother Woodard served in the Korean War with the Army National Guard. He went on to further his education and became a licensed master electrician by trade. He was the first African American to join the Illinois International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). Brother Woodard was in good standing of the IBEW Local 364 in Rockford since 1970. He retired as supervisor from the Byron Nuclear Plant in 1993. He was the founder, president and chief executive officer of E and W Contracting. He was known as a strong advocate for giving back to the community; Brother Woodard served with many organizations including the American Legion, Elks Blackhawk Lodge 921 and Northern Illinois Minority Companies Association (NIMCA), where he taught basic electrical contracting principles to Rockford area youth. E L was also co-founder of the Rock River Development Corp. in 1969 and served as president of the organization for many years. Brother Woodard was an avid sports fan and often enjoyed listening to games on a portable radio. He was a compassionate friend to many and was willing to contribute his time and expertise to strengthen his family and better the community. Brother Woodard leaves to celebrate his memory, wife, Martha; sons, Terry of Oakland, Calif., Frederick (Annette) of Colorado Springs, Colo., Jeffrey of Bloomington and Brian of Rockford; daughters, Donna Cardwell and Michelle Woodard of Rockford; stepsons, Duane Foster (Dorthy) and Dwight Foster of Rockford; 17 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; sisters, Ardella Keys (Laster) of Shivers, Miss., Missouri Moore of Jackson, Miss., Barbara Marshall (Charlie) of Rockford, Eunice "Darlene" Smith (George) of Denver and Catherine Thurmond of Jackson; brothers, Earl C. Woodard (Betty) of Pinola, Miss., Lewis Woodard of Georgetown, Miss., Booker T. Woodard of Prentiss, Miss., N C Woodard of Jackson, Ardell Woodard Jr. (Vernola), L V Woodard and J L Woodard (Faye), all of Rockford; aunt, Joyce Buckley of New Orleans; uncle, Trueville Williams of Washington, D. C.; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends. Predeceased by his parents; sisters, Odessia Woodard, Rodella W. Walker and Delmae Woodard; brother, Elois Woodard; stepdaughter, Barbara Jackson; and stepgrandson, Chris Jackson. Service at 10 a.m. Friday, May 7, in Macedonia Baptist Church, 1720 Morgan St., with visitation from 9 a.m. to time of service; the Rev. Perry Bennett will officiate, and the Rev. Clarence Homan will eulogize. Burial in Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elmwood. Arrangements completed by Collins and Stone Funeral Home.

Published in Rockford Register Star from May 5 to May 11, 2010