Woody in the Words of His Parents
The following statements were made by
Woody's parents, Joanne and Paul,
during the press conference announcing the filing of a
to obtain information about the killing of their son.
To read the mere words here is not nearly as moving as it was to see them,
deeply in grief.
I would like to speak brifly about our family.
I'm the father of Robert L. My name is Paul Woodward.
Robert was known as Woody.
Woody's family had lived in Vermont since 1761,
8 generations on his mother's side, 7 on my side, of the family.
Joanne and I were born here.
We lived here in Springfield for 18 years before going to school.
Most of Woody's family lives in Vermont to this day.
However, his family and friends live throughout the world.
Many of those friends do not know he is dead.
We loved him very dearly.
Woody's family are deeply rooted in this state.
We love these beautiful hills.
At this time of our lives after Woody's untimely death,
there is a huge hole in our hearts, the heart of his family.
We are deeply grieved and [can't understand].
I apologize to those here who have heard most of what I'm going to say
which is what I said at two of our Memorial services.
Robert was born in in Norwitch CT on March 1964.
Even as an infant and a toddler he faced the world
with joy and inquisitiveness.
As he grew, so did his range of interests.
He took his first hike with us
when he was just 5 years old.
Sometime around third grade he began to draw.
He loved to read, anything and everyting.
By the time he entered high school,
he had also become excited about writing and drama.
It was during his eigth grade year,
at Field's Memorial School in Bazwitch Connecticut,
that he began essentially his life's work, caregiving,
when he agreed to work in recreation
at a nearby center for retarded children.
Throughout his life he has cared for the underpriveledged,
the handcapped, the elderly, and the autistic,
in many different areas of New England,
and in many diferent capacities.
Interspesed with his work was his passion to see and appreciate
this country and th rest of the world.
He did this in ways that many of us only think about,
and perhaps we shudder when we do.
He hitchiked around Europe.
He lived for a time in Taiwan
where he taught English to Chinese children.
He travelled throughout the United States
in an old Volkswagon Rabbit
and when that didn't work used his thumb.
He didn't want or need alot of possessions.
There was no need to accumulate material things.
Instead he gathered to himself the people he met,
and they became his friends.
In the last couple of years I think that he finally discovered
what he really should have be doing all along.
He was working for a school system in Walpole NH,
with special needs and retarded kinds.
And he loved to make up the lesson plans for them,
loved to make up math problems for them,
and he'd use crazy little scenereos.
But I'll just give you a little story that shows what he was like.
One of the little girls in the classroom had leg braces,
and when the boys and the girls went out for recess
to slide on the back hill,
she wasn't able to slide, she wasn't able to ski.
Woody hitched her, fixed her up with a pair of skis,
one arm holding the girl sho she could stand and lean against it,
and then he used the other hand to propel her down the slope
so she could ski.
The week before he was killed he took took the little boys he
was working with in Springfield -- I think they were siblings --
the three of them to see a Hairy Potter film.
They stood in line for three hours,
and he took them to the movies.
That was the kind of person he was.
He cared for my mother who was in convolescent home.
He cared for his grandparents who used to live in Springfield.
When he died, a part of all of us died.
We may never know all of what happened or why,
but we need to know as much of the truth as we can.
page last modified: 2008-07-20