“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8 (NLT)
Dickson “Sylvester” Woodward was born on August 31, 1928 to E Perry and Leiland Davis Woodward on the family farm in Quincy, Florida; the youngest of seven children.
As a young man, he attended Gadsden County schools in Quincy and Chattahoochee. He graduated from The McCallie School in Chattanooga and was proud to have played football for the Blue Tornados. He graduated from the University of Florida with a BA in Business and was a member of the Kappa Alpha Order, Beta Zeta Chapter.
After serving with distinction with the US Army in South Korea, he returned to the farm to manage the family shade tobacco business. In 1954, he saw the picture of a young Wesleyan College graduate in the local paper. When inquiring about the young lady, his fraternity brother, John Finlayson, quipped, “There is a whole covey of women in that family - six of them.” Sylvester drove up to Attapulus, Georgia to meet Martha Jean Laslie, who was also from a large family of shade tobacco growers, and married her September 10, 1955.
They settled down to farming and starting a family. After the sad death of their first-born son, Joseph Dickson, Sylvester and Martha Jean relied on their Christian faith that things would work out and begin devoting themselves to the their families, the youth of the community and their church.
After the demise of the shade tobacco industry, Sylvester did not despair but did what he had to do to ensure that he kept the family farm as he had promised his father. He worked for the Floridan Company and retired as an administrator for the City of Quincy. In retirement, he started a lawn care business where he groomed to perfection many of the lovely homes in Quincy.
Sylvester worked with the youth of the community as a well-loved and respected pee-wee football and little league baseball coach. He gave countless hours of volunteer time to Robert F. Munroe School and was a longtime member of the Exchange Club of Quincy. Sylvester was most devoted to the First Presbyterian Church of Quincy: teaching Sunday School, working as a Youth Leader, active in Men of the Church and serving as an Deacon and an Elder. In his later years, he traveled to Costa Rica with In the Shepherd’s Footsteps group to lend his talents to church building.
Sylvester did not spend all his time working. He enjoyed playing in equal measure: following his beloved Florida Gators in all sports, roaming the woods, rivers, lakes and backroads of North Florida and South Georgia with family and friends and enjoying a good cocktail while sharing a good story anywhere from the banks of a fishing pond to the club house at Augusta National. As a Rosarian, he grew and showed some of the most beautiful hybrid tea roses. Many marriages were celebrated with his roses. His smile was infectious.
In his later years, sadly, illness took away his physical ability and his voice. He spent his last years in memory care at Harbor Chase and quietly passed away on June 28, 2016. His family is most grateful for the kindness shown and loving care by the staff of Harbor Chase. They are also grateful for the service and kindness shown by the volunteers and staff of Big Bend Hospice.
Sylvester Woodward knew not a stranger and treated you with dignity and respect regardless of your ethnicity, faith or background.
Sylvester was predeceased by his son, his parents, his brothers Howard Woodward, Perry Woodward and William “Mouse” Woodward; his sisters Fenton Woodward McLean and Margaret Woodward Adams and his Laslie family members Joan Laslie Livingston, Robert and Mary Laslie Grodner and Joseph Laslie. He is survived by his wife; his children Anne Ahrendt (Kurt) of Wakulla; Hayes Woodward (Rhonda) of Quincy and Taylor Woodward (Stephanie) of Augusta; his much beloved grandchildren Lynn Palmer, Adrianne Woodward, John Ahrendt, Nan Woodward and Reed Woodward; a sister, Lagusta Woodward Jordan, of Tennessee and a sister-in-law, Helen Davis Woodward of Quincy. He is also survived by his Laslie family: Mayo and Carolyn Livingston of Bainbridge; Beulah Laslie Brinson of Monticello; Taylor and Eleanor Laslie Griffin of Deland; John and Harriet Laslie Reynolds III of Augusta; John Laslie, Quincy and Berry Laslie, Tallahassee and by a host of nieces and nephews of several generations from all over the US too numerous to mention here but know that he loved and was very proud of you all. He is also survived by his devoted friend, Dan Hooker and his other children Michael, David and Amy Dooner.
His funeral service will be held at First Presbyterian Church, Quincy, Florida on Friday, July 1, 2016 with visitation with the family at 10:00 a.m. and the service at 11:00. He will be interred in the family plot at Old Philadelphia Church Cemetery, Quincy.
Memorial gifts can be made to Robert Munroe School, Old Philadelphia Church Endowment, and Big Bend Hospice.
Charles McClellan Funeral Home, Quincy, FL, (850) 627-7677, is in charge of arrangements.