Obituary for Neil Woodward Jr.
Dr. Neil Whitney Woodward, Jr. was born February 3, 1931 in Oklahoma City the son of Dr. Neil Whitney and Velma Florence (Hummel) Woodward. He completed this life on Friday, July 14, 2017 at the age of 86.
Dr. Woodward was born and raised in Oklahoma City and attended Northeast High School where his classmates regarded him as one of the ‘brains’ in the school. He was awarded the Gaylord Philanthopics Scholarship Award for Achievement in Chemistry and Mathematics in 1948. Many predicted he would go far in his life and achieve many things. He then continued on his educational journey and attended the University of Oklahoma and, once completing his degree in aeronautical engineering, entered into medical school. He was a member of the Alpha Sigma Phi Social Fraternity and Phi Beta Pi Medical Fraternity. While at OU, he also belonged to Scabbard and Blade and Arnold Air Society and was named a Big Man on Campus. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma School of Medicine in 1956. He completed his residency in General Surgery with a specialty in Colon and Rectal Surgery at Cook County Hospital in Chicago and Columbus Hospital. He returned to Oklahoma City in 1964 where he practiced at St. Anthony’s Hospital and Baptist Hospital initially. He then moved his clinic to Mercy Health Center where he practiced medicine until his retirement. He enjoyed teaching and served as an assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma, College of Medicine earlier in his career. He was then involved as a preceptor for medical students in his clinic where his rotation was held in high regard by his students. In 1973, he was invited to serve as the Doctor of the Day for the Senate of the State of Oklahoma. Medicine, and Surgery specifically, was his life’s passion. His unwavering dedication to his patients’ care and wellbeing was well known by patients and colleagues alike. He was a member of the Oklahoma County, Oklahoma State and the American Medical Association.
He also served his country in the U.S. Air Force as a captain and flight surgeon including assignment to the 1605th USAF Hospital at Lajes Field, Azores in the late 1950s. Dr. Woodward was an avid pilot during most of his life, flying his family over most of the country, and served as an accident investigator and medical examiner for the Federal Aviation Administration. He was a very talented amateur chef and spent much of his free time learning to perfect his culinary skills much to the delight of family and friends. One of his best-known specialties was his smoked beef brisket and many a cold winter night he would bring his apprentices (a.k.a. children) out into the snow to check on the progress of his art. He enjoyed travel and was able to visit locales around the globe with more than plenty of pictures to prove of his presence there. In fact, his uncatalogued library of slides, photos and Super 8 videos has left a legacy that will keep his progeny busy for years to come. Neil was a special man, and those that knew him were immediately drawn to his exuberant nature and tongue-in-cheek humor. He will be missed by all that were privileged to be a part of his life.
Dr. Woodward married Aileen Stevenson on January 9, 1960 in Oklahoma City. They were married for 33 years when she preceded him in death on October 30, 1993. He was also preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Paul Woodward.
On August 10, 2002, he married Genevieve “Geni” (Wehba) Thomas who survives him. He is also survived by his sons, Neil Whitney Woodward, III and his wife Leanne of Seattle, WA, Dr. Thad Hummel Woodward and his wife Mercedes of Agoura Hills, CA and Kevin Danny Woodward and his wife Kimberly of Guthrie; his daughter, Dr. Michelle Ruth Woodward and her husband Don Anderson of Firestone, CO; his step-daughters, Renee Bauer and her husband Steve and Mrs. Robert (Cecilia) Floyd all of Oklahoma City; his grandchildren, Caroline Whitney Woodward, Andrea Aileen Woodward, Steven Woodward and Lindsey Woodward; his step-grandchildren, Angela Davis, Bryan Bauer and Karen Floyd; his step- great grandchildren, Piper Chamberlain and Asa Brittan.
The family will receive friends from 2:00 until 4:00 p.m. Sunday at Vondel Smith Mortuary North, 13125 N. MacArthur. Funeral service will be 10:30 a.m., Monday, July 17, 2017 in St. Elijah Orthodox Church with interment following in Memorial Park Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to the Flowers that Do Not Wither Fund at St. Elijah Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, 15000 N. May Ave., Oklahoma City, OK 73134 or Mercy Health Foundation, 13321 N. Meridian Ave., Suite 206, Oklahoma City, OK 73120.