Bettie Woodward

Bettie Sydenstricker Woodward, a civic leader in Lewisburg, WV, for more than 40 years, passed away on Sunday, August 4, 2019, at her beloved farm, Glenwood.

The daughter of Edward W. and Elizabeth J. Wilson Sydenstricker, Bettie was born in Lewisburg on December 19, 1924.

She was descended from two of Greenbrier County's oldest families, the Sydenstrickers and the Tuckwillers. She was a second cousin of the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Pearl Sydenstricker Buck.

Bettie attended Lewisburg High School for one year before enrolling in Greenbrier College, which she attended for five years before attending the University of North Carolina for one year. She transferred to West Virginia University, where she earned a degree in English with a minor in foreign languages. She then earned a master's degree in business education and a specialist in education degree at Peabody College in Nashville, TN. She returned to Lewisburg to teach in the Greenbrier College business education program followed by faculty positions at Indian River Junior College in Florida, University of Miami in Ohio, and Peabody College.

In 1966, she married Dr. Theodore "Ted" Woodward, the head of Peabody's Business Education Department. They married in Delhi, India, where Dr. Woodward and other American educators had been invited to train secondary school teachers. They loved to travel and enjoyed many happy years together.

Upon Ted's retirement 1975, the Woodwards returned to Lewisburg, where they enjoyed working together to renovate the antebellum home at Glenwood, the farm Bettie had inherited from her family. She managed her farm emphasizing conservation and best farming practices.

One of her many passions was assisting with the creation of the local Farmland Protection Board.

She also devoted herself to celebrating the rich history and preserving the campus of Greenbrier College. She was a founder of the biannual reunions of Greenbrier College alumnae and was at the forefront of the effort to save Carnegie Hall in the early 1980s. Rather than let the building be demolished, she joined with others to incorporate Carnegie Hall as a nonprofit arts center. Likewise, she was a leader in the movement to renovate Greenbrier Hall to serve as the main classroom building for what is now the Greenbrier Valley campus of New River Community and Technical College.

Bettie was the first female to serve on the State Fair of West Virginia Board of Directors. She was a lifelong member of the Old Stone Presbyterian Church serving as deacon, elder, and choir member. Her church awarded her a Lifetime Membership of the Women of the Church and Elder Emeritus. She was also involved with many other community organizations, including the North House Museum, Greenbrier Valley Theatre, Daughters of the American Revolution, and PEO Chapter O.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; and cousins, Genevieve Wilson Friedman, Marion Brannon, Dorothy Wilson, and Vinyard Wilson.

She is survived by cousins, Frances Wilson Creel, John Wilson (Vicki), Sara Wilson McDonnell, and Ann Wilson McClung (Richard).

A celebration of her life will take place on Sunday, August 11, 2019, at 2 p.m. at the Old Stone Presbyterian Church in Lewisburg. A reception will follow the service.

Bettie requested that memorial gifts be made to Carnegie Hall, the Old Stone Presbyterian Church, or New River Community and Technical College.

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Wallace & Wallace Funeral Home in Lewisburg is in charge of arrangements.

Obituary originally published in the August 7, 2019, edition of The West Virginia Daily News.


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