Frances Lorraine Woodard of Federal Way, age 86, was taken into God’s Hands on Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021.
Fran was born in Vang North Dakota on September 24th, 1935 to Morris and Sarah (Sadie) Anderson. She grew up in the town of Edmore with her two younger brothers, Lyle (deceased) and Gaylord, and her sister Mayvis Aslakson. Fran graduated from Edmore High School in 1952.
In 1954 Fran moved to Seattle and started working for the Boeing Company. She met Vernon Floyd Woodard, who also worked for the Boeing Company, and they were married on December 16th 1956. After their first child was born, Fran quit her job to raise a family.
Vern and Fran were avid golfers and members of Northshore Golf Course. Fran was highly involved in their Junior Golf Program, and she loved every minute of it. It wasn’t just about learning golf, but also golf etiquette.
After Vernon’s passing in 1978, Fran started the annual Woodard Scramble Golf Tournament, and went back to work to support her family. Fran got a job at the Old Federal Way Shopping Center and worked with the Merchants Association. She was instrumental in bringing in shoppers to the many small businesses, playing Miss Moneybags and organizing events including the Annual Easter Egg Hunt and Oktoberfest. She was honored to be given the American Flag that once flew over the old shopping center that no longer exists today.
Fran went on to take the role of Director for the Chamber of Commerce in Des Moines. There she spent countless hours planning and organizing the Waterland Festival, which then included a full carnival in the Marina parking lot. Of all the events, her favorite was The Waterland Parade. She returned to work for the Boeing Company, but continued volunteering her time to the Parade every year. In 2017, they honored her by making her the Grand Marshall.
Throughout the years, Fran loved Dancing and Music, playing both the piano and the accordion. She loved playing with her Mother “Fiddlin’ Sadie” and her sister Mayvis. Fran brought a ray of sunshine to everyone, with her fun demeanor, contagious smile and sparkling blue eyes. She will be missed by many.
Fran leaves behind two siblings, two sons, Ronald and Douglas, two daughters, Barbara Schafer and Laura Cline, six Grandchildren, two Great Grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
Fran worked for the Old Federal Way Shopping Center in the 80s for many years, being honored and given the United States Flag that once majestically flew there. She was instrumental in bringing in shoppers to all of the merchants, including B & E Meats, organizing several events, including an Easter Egg Hunt and the annual Oktoberfest.
She went on to take the role of Director for the Chamber of Commerce in Des Moines, where she spent countless hours planning and organizing The Waterland Festval which then included not just a parade, but Full Carnival with Funtastic Shows in the Marina parking lot.
She returned to the Boeing Company in Renton, starting as a grade 2 9n the shop floor, and working her way up to writing for then Vice President Brieghtweight.
Some comments show the huge impact Fran had on the community:
“Fran Woodard was an Amazing Mom, Great frriend and Courageous fighter to the end. Unable to get the needed operation, God took her into His hands Sunday night.
“I didn’t lose my Mom, I gained an Angel.”
– LauraLee Cline
“So grateful for all the memories my Mom left with us all. She was amazing! Thank you to everyone for their kind words. I will let everyone know when we are having her memorial. She really wanted a big party!”
– Barbara Woodard Shafer
“Every community needs a Fran to add conscience and perspective!! RIP “
– Pete von Reichbauer
King County Councilmember
“About 1985 Anna and I (and others) were complaining that the Waterland Parade was always late and never started at 6:00 as advertised. Someone of course said “ok, you do it”. Anna was heavily involved with the Chamber and we accepted the challenge. I wasn’t so sure and met with Fran in her office. She was the Director of the Chamber. I told her of my trepidation and that I had no experience in anything like the parade. She showed me all the files rregarding entries, contacts for approval, etc. and told me “MY JOB IS TO MAKE YOU LOOK GOOD” That statement first made me feel comfortable that she would be able to pull it off bur mostlly what a profound.. statement it was. What if everyone took that as their job? I’ve used that statement a million times with my employees and others. In my business the estimator’s job is to get enuff money on the job so the bodyman can produce enuff paid body labor. The bodyman’s job is to get his work smooth enuff so the painer can got it painted quickly and out the door profitably. Sorry to be so wordy but that statement was huge to me. I am proud to say that Anna was the Waterland Director for a number of years after that and the Parade started at 6:00 sharp every one of those years.
“Aside from that, Fran was a very good friend of ours and was the epitome of having fun and promoting Des Moines for the enjoyment of the population. She always said what we were doing is showing off the City and the people who came to watch the parade were our guests and should be treated as such.
“Again thanks for the opportunity to reflet on Fran’s effect on the community.”
– BJ & Anna Bjorneby
“So sad she is gone, she was a gem~”
– Jan Magnuson
“Our hearts are broken for the loss of our amazing friend, volunteer, advocate, and 2017 Waterland Festival Grand Marshal Fran Woodard. Fran has been a pillar in our community and historian for Destination Des Moines and the Des Moines Waterland Festival and Parade.
“We send our heartfelt condolences to her family. She is remembered with fondness for the joy she brought to everyone, her great smile, and kindness.
“2016 Seattle Seafair Commodores honoree Executive Director for the Des Moines Chamber of Commerce Waterland Festival chairperson and avid volunteer for over 33 years for Des Moines events.”
– Destination Des Moines
“My deepest Condolences to Fran’s family. Fran was a pillar of our community and she will be missed. We will keep the traditions she worked so hard for like the parade alive to honor her.”
– Matt Mahoney
On a personal note, everyone at The Waterland Blog will miss Fran’s presence at local events, where we got to know her as a devoted Volunteer who was truly committed to helping the Des Moines community.
She was always “there,” working with a smile and positive attitude, and she is already missed!