It is with great sadness that we pass on the news that Gary Lynn Woodruff has passed away.
The first of three children born to Melvin and Mary Fern Woodruff, Gary Lynn Woodruff was born Tuesday July 4th, 1950 in Elk City, Oklahoma. He left this world to enter his heavenly home Sunday January 20th, 2019 while on a bucket list trip with his wife Leslie to Australia and New Zealand. He died suddenly from a cardiac aneurysm at the age of 68.
Gary grew up on various farms in Cowden, Colony and Alfalfa. He helped with operations of the Woodruff family farm. He had two younger siblings, brother Alvin and sister Marita. When he wasn’t working on the dairy farm or attending school, Gary spent his free time at his Uncle Delbert Richey‘s gas station in nearby Cowden. They spent hours together working on cars, drinking soda pop, and discussing crops. He cherished his time with his Uncle. Farming was a constant enjoyment throughout his entire lifetime. Along with his father Melvin and family friends, Jim Shaw and Dick Phelps, he raised cattle and worked crops ranging from cotton and wheat to peanuts and soybeans. Gary attended school in Alfalfa until its closure at the conclusion of his sophomore year. He transferred to Carnegie High School where he graduated with the infamous class of ‘68. It was there where he met the love of his life and future bride, Leslie Johnson.
Gary married Leslie on August 21st, 1971 in the Carnegie First Baptist Church after they had dated for four years. They both finished their college degrees at Oklahoma State University. He accepted a position as quality supervisor at Dayton Tire Company and remained there until they made the decision to return to Carnegie in 1975 to help Leslie’s father operate the Carnegie Telephone Company after the death of her mother. A few years later they were joined by Leslie’s brother Lyn and wife Terri. Together they were the 4th generation of the James A. Wright family to own and operate the local telephone company. It has remained in the family for 98 years. At the time of his death Gary was President and CEO of the Carnegie Telephone Company, a position previously held by his brother-in-law and dearest friend Lyn. As a member of several state and national telecommunication organizations Gary looked forward to attending those meetings and reconnecting with associates he’d known for many years. Gary and Leslie were blessed with three children: Stefannye Lynn in 1975, Todd Robert in 1979 and Angela Deann, in 1983.
He loved to travel, especially on trips with his family. He was able to learn about culture in Peru and experience Machu Picchu, explore the Galapagos Islands, view and interact with giant whales on his many trips to Hawaii and witness the beauty of Alaska. He looked forward to escaping the cold weather every winter, hiding out in Key West, Florida and cruising the Caribbean. He had traveled through the original Panama Canal and had planned to return soon to see the new, larger locks. Most recently, he toured Sydney, Australia where he saw the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House and had just begun a cruise to New Zealand. Gary developed a passion for golfing in college. He was able to meet some of the PGA greats like Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Raymond Floyd. He attended PGA tournaments with family and friends. He looked forward to competing in the Oklahoma Telephone Association scramble every summer.
At the age of 51, Gary made a life changing profession of faith and was baptized shortly after. He was a dedicated member of First Baptist Church in Carnegie, where he was a member of Eldon Unruh’s Sunday School class.
In April 2018 Gary was diagnosed with lung cancer. His treatments at M.D. Anderson were effective and he was tolerating the side-effects quite well. His CT and PET scans taken on the day before he and Leslie began their New Zealand trip indicated “N.E.D” (no evidence of disease). He knew the protocol would be to continue his treatments, but was told by the doctors that he was in the best possible position to win his battle over the disease.
Gary is preceded in death by his father Melvin Francis Woodruff, his father-in-law Wesley Robert Johnson, and his mother-in-law Fannye Virginia Johnson. Survivors include his wife of 47 years, Leslie, his son, Todd Woodruff and wife, Christine, of Oklahoma City, daughters Stefannye Prange and husband Tye, of Leander, Texas, and Angela Hanes and husband, Ryan, of Round Rock, Texas, six grandchildren who were the absolute light of his life: Lilyeanne, Pierce, Grant and Faith Prange and Oliver and Elliot Hanes, his mother Mary Fern Woodruff, of Corn, his brother Alvin Woodruff and wife Anita of Watonga, his sister Marita McKee and husband Ronnie of Cordell and a host of other extended family. He will be laid to rest in the Carnegie Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers the family requests memorials in Gary’s name to the First Baptist Church in Carnegie, Oklahoma or to the Gideon’s International.
Funeral Service: Thursday, January 31, 2019, 2:00 PM, Carnegie First Baptist Church
Viewing: Tuesday, January 29, 2019 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
Wednesday, January 30, 2019 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
Ray & Martha’s Funeral Home, Carnegie, Oklahoma
Interment: Carnegie Cemetery, Carnegie, Oklahoma
Under the direction of Ray & Martha’s Funeral Home, Carnegie, Oklahoma