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Henry C. Woodward

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Henry C. Woodward Obituary
Henry Canning Woodward, brilliant teacher, mentor, adventurer, lover of music and beloved husband, died February 2, 2013 after a sudden illness. He was 48 and lived in North Eastham, MA. Henry was born November 16, 1964 in Sharon, CT, the son of John Hall Woodward and Diane Whiteley Woodward. He was raised in Pottstown, PA on the campus of The Hill School, the boarding school where his father taught history. In the summer, the family traveled to a seasonal home in Chatham, MA on Cape Cod for seaside living marked by time with cousins and the joys of simply messing about in boats. He graduated from Deerfield Academy in 1982, from Boston University with a BS degree in Broadcasting & Film in 1986, and from The College of William & Mary with a MS in American Studies in 1992. The title of his Masters Thesis gave a glimpse into his passion for music and the wonderful role it played in his life | Rock n Roll Stew: The Rolling Stones and Blues Music Through the Looking Glass of American Culture in the 1960s. Henry descended from a long line of secondary school educators and, after a few post- collegiate media forays, began a distinguished career of teaching that inspired in hundreds and hundreds of students a love of learning and enthusiasm for self-discovery and a life fully lived. From 1992 to 2007, Henry taught at Marvelwood School, a private secondary school in Kent, CT, where he taught United States History, Modern European History, Latin and Filmmaking while also coaching Varsity Soccer and Lacrosse. From 1999 to 2007, he served as Chairman of the History Department, and from 2001 to 2007 was Dean of Faculty. Known affectionately as Woody, he was the recipient of numerous teaching awards and recognitions, including twice being named Male Faculty Teacher of the Year and being nominated for Disneys Americas Best Teachers. In 2007, following his announcement that he would be leaving Marvelwood, the student body honored him with the dedication of their yearbook, the inaugural time such a tribute had been bestowed at the school. Following Marvelwood, Henry and his wife Barbara settled year-round at their home in North Eastham on Cape Cod, and he proceeded to teach for the next five years at Riverview School, a school for students with complex learning and cognitive disabilities in Sandwich, MA. At Riverview, he specialized in creating hands-on academic projects in his history and Latin classes to enrich curricula for students for whom traditional instruction was insufficient. This was a challenging task for which he was perfectly suited, a man of endless patience, humor and creativity carefully coaxing an appreciation for the joys of education from students who needed his unique skills. To those who knew him, Henry is best remembered for a tremendous vibrancy and warmth of spirit, boundless intellect, quick and delicious wit, but most of all as a gentle and sensitive soul dedicated to enriching the lives of others. He was always ready to draw upon his prodigious grasp of the spoken word to find the right phrase, the right joke, the right word of encouragement or wisdom to soothe as a balm the uncertainties and struggles of others. Henry was a buoyant presence, and could hold any audience in rapt attention with a singular blend of infectious ebullience, fierce intelligence, hilarious perspective and passionate humanism. In doing so, his eyes always twinkled, as if in possession of wondrous facts about to be revealed. His spirit was imbued in his favorite pursuits | from boating and fishing the waters of Nantucket Sound and Cape Cod Bay, to cheering on the Colts, Sixers, Flyers and Red Sox, to seafaring adventures as a sailor on crews bound for Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. Most of all, music was a magical presence in his life. Whether combing through his epic vinyl record collection to find the perfect song for the moment, or dancing freely to the bright sounds of the Grateful Dead and Phish, the rhythms, melodies, lyricism and beauty of music reverberated in everything he did. In 1995, Henry married the love and light of his life, his soulmate Barbara. Together they enjoyed a life filled with shared passions for conversation, movies, beachwalks, learning, cooking, music and song. Their love was deep and true. His family shared the following: Occasionally in life we are fortunate to meet someone so magnetic, so instantly likeable, so full of life force that you take sheer pleasure in being in their presence, and feel the void instantly when they are gone. To those blessed enough to have known Henry, we cherish that joy and we feel that void. In the words of one of the stars of his musical firmament: Fare you well, fare you well, I love you more than words can tell; listen to the river sing sweet songs, to rock my soul. He left the world far too early, but leaves behind so many lives he touched and helped shape, and all are better off for having known him. Mr. Woodward is survived by his wife, Barbara Trost Woodward of North Eastham, MA; his parents, John and Diane Woodward of South Kent, CT; a sister, Caroline Grant of Westborough, MA; a brother, Gordon Woodward of Bedford Corners, NY; a step-daughter, Susan Walker of Boyce, VA; and seven nieces and nephews. The family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Marvelwood School, 476 Skiff Mountain Road, Kent, CT 06757; or Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore, P.O. Box 550, Wellfleet, MA 06757.

Published in The Cape Codder from Feb. 7 to Feb. 14, 2013
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