Virginia Sue Thompson Woodard, age 97 of Checotah, OK passed away on Sunday, March 19, 2023 in Idabel, OK. She was born July 10,1925 in Russellville, AR, the daughter of John Wesley Thompson and Bessie Owens Thompson.
Sue graduated Oktaha High School as an honor student, she played center on the basketball team. Upon graduation, she worked for the telephone company in Muskogee, OK. She was raised during the Great Depression and then the Dust Bowl in Oklahoma. Sue’s four older brothers were drafted into WWII, and her brother-in-law served both WWII and the Korean Conflict. Those events shaped her life. She was conservative and frugal all her life. She married Lee Woodard in Van Buren, AR in May 1946. She remained in Checotah while he traveled the seas of the world, serving as a Merchant Marine throughout WWII and beyond. Sue took care of her family and Lee’s family and raised her children on the ranch that had been in her husband’s family for three generations. Later, Lee became a member of the Border Patrol and Sue moved with him to South and West Texas, where they fell in love with the idea of raising King Ranch Santa Gertrudis cattle on the family ranch in Checotah, OK (Woodard Ranch). In 1959, they moved back to Woodard Ranch and began a foundation Santa Gertrudis herd, serving as charter members of the Santa Gertrudis Cattle Association of Oklahoma. From that time until 1980, Sue ran the ranch in Oklahoma while Lee returned to serve as a Merchant Marine sailing all over the world. Together, they were able to expand the family ranch. On retirement, they traveled the continental US, touring battlefield parks and historic sites, working to gain recognition for Honey Springs Civil War battlefield as a historical site in Oklahoma, because part of the battle was fought on family land. Lee died in 1992. In 2008, Sue sold the ranch and moved to Idabel, OK to be near family.
She was preceded in death by her parents John Wesley Thompson and Bessie Owens Thompson; sister, Viola Thompson; brothers, Vernon, Raymond, Doyle, and Laymon Thompson; sister Pauline Thompson Llewellyn & brother-in-law Dan Llewellyn; husband, Lee Curtis Woodard; sister-in-law Marjorie Woodard Shepherd & brother-in-law Ray Shepherd; daughter-in-law Carolyn Woodard; grand-daughter, Megan Ricthey; and a special nephew and niece, Gary Llewellyn and Linda Fowlkes.
Sue leaves to cherish her memory her son, Tonkawa Thompson Woodard; daughter Ambia Woodard Crain & son-in-law, Michael Crain; special niece Robin England Ward; granddaughters, Amy and Brent Perry, Natalie and Ethan Morton and Kia Crain; great-grandchildren, Zachary Perry, Zadie Perry, Dalton Ritchey, Karalyn Ricthey, Carter Webb, Corie Morton, Ransom Morton and Jemma Pratt; special great-niece and great-nephew, Debbie Aloisio and Michael Hughes; several nieces, nephews, other relatives and her friends at Colonial Lodge.
The family extends our gratitude and appreciation to the staff and residents at Colonial Lodge, HealthBack/Traditions Home Health, Complete OK Hospice, Hill Nursing Home, the staff of the medical-surgical unit at McCurtain Memorial Hospital and Rose Lewis for making her hair look pretty till the very end.
Online condolences can be shared with the family at www.whitefamilyfh.com.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Honey Springs Battlefield Historic Site Museum in Checotah, OK. Phone: 918-617-7125
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