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Nov. 16, 1943-Jan. 4, 2008

Loretta Sawyer Woodard, 64, of Princeton, an outstanding Johnston County civic, educational and political leader died Friday, Jan. 4, 2008, following a valiant battle with cancer.

She was born Nov. 16, 1943, in Elizabeth City to the late Muldrow and Hilda Barbour Sawyer.

She was a graduate of Elizabeth City Schools and received her business degree from Hardbarger's Business College in Raleigh. She worked in the Dental Project at the UNC School of Public Health in the Department of Epidemiology. She was married to Carlyle Woodard in 1966, and following his graduation from the UNC School of Pharmacy, they came to Princeton to make their home where he was associated with Woodard's Drugs.

Mrs. Woodard was a long-time member of Princeton Baptist Church and served in many capacities through the years. Her latest was as chairman of the redecoration committee for the church sanctuary and its dedication.

She was involved in all areas of life in Johnston County -- educational, civic and political. She was a member of The Board of Trustees of Johnston Community College, the Johnston Community College Foundation, and the Paul A Johnston Auditorium On Stage Series Board. She currently served on the Johnston County Heritage Commission and was a founding member of the Heritage Center following the Johnston County's 250th Anniversary Celebration, where she was a member of the steering committee.

Long active in educational circles, she served the Princeton School in many capacities from classroom to president of the Parent Teachers Association to Chairman of the Advisory Board to Chairman of the Johnston County School Boards -- PTA Council. She was always an active supporter in the passage of bond issues for school construction.

Mrs. Woodard was a member of the Johnston County Farm-City Week Annual Observance, and was long active in the Johnston County Mental Health Association, where she was cited for her outstanding leadership. She was a member of the North Carolina Museum of History's Executive Board and was co-chairman of Johnston County's History Associates.

Loretta Woodard was brought into the political arena by her mentor, the late N.C. House Representative, Barney Paul Woodard, with whom she visited around the district. She became active in the Democratic Party, on the precinct and county levels. She served as chairperson of the Johnston County Democratic Party and later as president of the Johnston County Democratic Women. She served 13 years as chairman of the Second District Democratic Party. Mrs. Woodard also served on the State Democratic Executive Committee, was a former national convention delegate, and for a number of years was responsible for the decorations at the annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner. She successfully chaired political campaigns in the county for Representative Woodard and Jack Gardner and for numerous other candidates, including Jim Speed, Charlie Whitley, Martin Lancaster, Allen Wellons and Bobby Etheridge. She served on the restoration of the Goodwin House, North Carolina Democrats' home.

In recognition of her dedicated public service, Governor James B. Hunt awarded her the Order of the Long Leaf Pine in 1999. "Her enthusiasm, her dedication and tireless efforts were expended in all areas of life. She was a 'people person' and believed it her calling to help make life better for all," said friend Belle Allen. "She was a joyful person and it was a joy to be in her presence. Her ability to also enlist others to work is legendary."

Funeral will be 1 pm Monday at the Princeton Baptist Church, with the Revs. Dwayne Batten and Don Price officiating. Serving as pallbearers will be Rob Woodard, Drew Woodard, Bill DeShong, Dean Halstead, Stephen Sawyer and Dail Lewis, Eddie Pearce and David Peele. Honorary Pallbearers will be Dr. Donald L. Reichard, Dr. John Tart, Dr. Martin Lancaster and Congressman Bob Etheridge. Burial will follow in the Princeton Cemetery.

She is survived by her husband. Carlyle Woodard; sons and daughter-in-law, Erwin Carlyle "Lyle" Woodard III and wife, Janet, of Nags Head, and Bradford Stuart Woodard of Clayton; sister, Barbara Mathews of Cotton Wood, Ariz., brother and sister-in-law, Douglas and Sophie Sawyer of Elizabeth City; and brother and sister-in-law, Charles and Harriet Woodard of Hertford.

Although flowers are welcome, the family suggests memorial contributions may be made to Princeton Baptist Church, the Loretta Woodard Scholarship at Johnston Community College, The Johnston County Heritage Center, or the Johnston County Mental Health Association.

The family will receive friends from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. Sunday at Casey Funeral Home in Princeton.


Published in Obituaries on January 6, 2008 10:50 AM