Obituary: Lawrence Miller Woodruff
Lawrence Miller “Woody” Woodruff died at home in Padua Hills on Friday, September 9, 2016, just weeks short of his 89th birthday. He was married nearly 48 years to his beloved Peggy, who preceded him in death early last year.
He was born in Pomona on October 31, 1927, the second child of Lawrence and Margaret Woodruff. He grew up in a house just off Holt Boulevard among the sagebrush and groves.
As a youth in the Depression he joined the Boy Scouts, beginning an association that lasted his entire life. Achieving the rank of Eagle Scout, he went on to serve as a camp counselor and Scoutmaster of Troop 201 in the Chino Council. He led many camping and backpacking trips in the southern California mountains and in the Sierra Nevada, notably taking a group over the steep and rugged Glen Pass of the Sierra when the trail was little more than a knapsack route. A place special to him was Jenks Lake in the Barton Flats area of the San Bernardino Mountains. He and Peggy spent one of the first weekends of their married life there.
He graduated from Pomona High School when it was still located downtown on east Holt and then went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Whittier College and a master’s degree from the Claremont Graduate School.
Mr. Woodruff began teaching junior high school in Chino in 1955 and over the years he taught, counseled students and served as a union representative and as an administrator in that district. He retired from the schools in 1980.
Up until that time, Peggy and Woody had made their home in the Village in Claremont but after retirement they designed and built their lovely house and garden on Olive Hill in Padua Hills. Every detail was planned and crafted by them over many months of work. In those peaceful surroundings, with stunning views of the mountains and valley and amid their art, Peggy’s poetry and their many friends, they rested between their international journeys.
The Woodruffs loved travel; it was their passion. Over the years they visited 86 countries and all seven continents on more than 100 trips. Their most memorable travel was in the late 1960s when they took a year traveling around the world, spending only $30 per day. They treasured the memories and photographs of all of their trips and, in 2012, Mr. Woodruff chronicled the long trip in a 300-page book.
For more than 30 years, Woody was a pillar of the Padua Hills neighborhood. He worked tirelessly for his neighbors and it was seldom that new residents were very long in their homes before he and Peggy invited them over to Olive Hill for drinks and introductions. He was the unofficial historian of the area. In 2013 he wrote a little booklet on the history of the Padua Hills neighborhood, emphasizing the artists who built the community as they made their homes there.
His students gave him continuing joy over the years. Often a former student would find his phone number and dial him up after 30, 40 or 50 years, just to tell him how much he had meant as a teacher. Sometimes, in recent years, he would reach out to a former student or former scout. Those reunions were a great pleasure to him.
Larry will be greatly missed by all of those his life touched, but especially by his sister, Virginia Krogh of Pomona, his sister-in-law Jenny Woodruff, his daughter Marilyn Austin of Knoxville, Tennessee, grandson John Parham Chiles, Jr. (Jessica), granddaughter Carin Chiles, his great-grandson John Parham Chiles III, nieces Sue Nordgren and Nancy McGreer and his nephews Lynn Krogh, David Krogh (Michelle) and David Woodruff (Ann).
A memorial service will be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Woody’s memory to the Greater Los Angeles Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, or to your local Boy Scout troop.