You know who was most surprised when Bobby R. Woodall left this world on Thursday, November 24th, 2022? Bobby R. Woodall, that’s who! This was one of his favorite jokes to make. He brought so much laughter into this world.
Much of that laughter was aimed at himself. He had a great attitude about the handicaps he was left with from a car accident in 1974 which left him unable to work. For the next 48 years he struggled to find ways to fill his time. He did so by volunteering for Big Brothers, being a child advocate, being on the board of Directors of Human Services and Legal Services. He ran for office several times and while he was not elected he remained very community minded. His biggest accomplishment was the publishing of his two books, Mercer Manor and Clearwater (available on Amazon, as he would tell anyone within earshot. By the way, do you have one of his business cards?)
These accomplishments are all the dearer because after the car accident, while he lay in a coma for 47 days, the doctors told his wife, Laurie, if he came out of the coma he would be a vegetable. His High School English teacher said, “Woodall, you can’t put 10 words together to make a sentence.” Bobby would often say, “Well, this vegetable wrote two novels!”
Bobby won the Game to Fame which sent him to Hollywood twice to see about making his book Clearwater into a movie. They wanted to buy his copyright but he refused to sell it to them because they wanted to include foul language and graphic sex. He stood his ground because as he said on his business cards, “I am a MARINE, therefore I know both but I am a CHRISTIAN first! SEMPER FI!”
Bobby would be the first to tell you that he lived a wild life before coming to Christ in 1975. His stories are the stuff of legends! But the greatest story he ever told was how he was saved from his sins by the blood of Jesus Christ.
Bobby never met a stranger wherever life took him – on trips to Washington DC to visit his in-laws, at their summer home in Tawas City, Michigan or at home in Columbus, Indiana. He always said I know everyone and those I don’t know I don’t want to! But those were few and far between. He had a love for people and often brought strangers home for meals. He had a big, welcoming heart.
Before his car accident, Bobby was a jack of all trades: Baptist preacher student, roughneck, United States Marine (Oorah!), ambulance driver, embalmer, factory worker, ranch hand, migrant worker, honey dipper (look this one up!), package boy who worked his way up to assistant manager at Thrifty Mart, and insurance salesman.
Bobby Richard Woodall was born on June 21, 1944 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Harvey Lee and Evelyn Ruth Woodall. He will be remembered and quoted often by his wife Laurie, their children Heather (Lawrence) Wells, John (Tina) Woodall and their grandchildren Emma Brooke Woodall, Deacon Dane Wells, Molly Beth Woodall and Phoebe Anne Wells, his sister Debbie Ruth (Joe) Kramer and many nieces, nephews and grand nieces and nephew. He was proceeded in death by his parents and brother Gary Michael Woodall.
Bobby left his family and those who knew him with great examples of endurance and positive thinking – whether it was his attitude about his disabilities, the numerous rejection letters from publishers or about his cancer diagnosis. He faced it all with humor and deep faith.
Due to Bobby’s deep love of children, the family has selected two non-profits for memorial donations:
Isaiah 117 House in Putnam County, a safe house for children who have been removed from their homes but have not yet been placed in foster care. Go to Isaiah117house.com, select one time donation. Under “My donation is for” select Putnam County. The website has a place for you to fill in an ‘in memory of’ donation and your address.
Or you can select Beloved Collective, Inc,, a non-profit that supports foster care families. Go to charitynavigator.org, select Beloved Collective Inc. Select amount, one time donation, and ‘donate in honor or memory of a loved one.’ Please put “Bobby R Woodall/Feels Like Home’ in the Dedicatee’s name box.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, December 3, with visitation from 3:30pm and the memorial starting at 5:30pm at Community Church of Columbus, 3850 North Marr Road, Columbus, IN 47203. Please come prepared to share your favorite Bobby story!