John Woodcock Jr., 86, an accountant and devoted family man, died Wednesday, June 9, of Parkinson’s disease at White Horse Village, a retirement community in Newtown Square.
Mr. Woodcock and his brothers Jim, Bill, and Ron were the children of immigrants — John Woodcock Sr. was from Ireland and Isabella Kerr Woodcock was from Scotland — who, like their own siblings, came to the United States to pursue a better life. They settled in Ardmore and Mr. Woodcock grew up surrounded by dozens of cousins, with lessons about the importance of family and hard work that stayed with him all his life.
“In this environment, he learned how family takes care of each other,” said his son, Steve Woodcock. “Nobody ever had a want because this extended family took care of each other during good times and bad.”
During the Korean War, Mr. Woodcock served in the U.S. Navy as an electronics technician, and was one of the first sailors to earn the distinction, his family said. He later served as a Navy reservist.
After leaving the Navy, Mr. Woodcock was accepted into the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Evening Program of Accounts and Finance, graduating with honors, and he received his license as a certified public accountant.
He went on to spend his entire professional career with the Philadelphia accounting firm Tait, Weller and Baker, rising to managing partner.
Mr. Woodcock also enjoyed community service. He served as chairman of the Tredyffrin Township Municipal Authority. He was a member of the Paoli Presbyterian Church for 51 years, serving as a Trustee, an Elder, and chairman of the church’s Mission Committee. He built deep friendships within his church community.
He loved golf and was an avid sailor, spending many weekends on the Chesapeake with his family. A devotee of the outdoors, he taught his children how to sail, fish, build fires, and pitch a tent. He knew his way around a grill; his cheese-stuffed burgers and London broil were the stuff of family legend. And his grandchildren couldn’t get enough of what the Woodcock clan called his “7-Up pancakes.” (One can guess the secret ingredient.)
Family and friends were his life’s passions, true to the lessons of his upbringing, according to his loved ones. He built relationships in all the places he lived — Ardmore in his youth; Paoli and Devon as an adult; and, in the last five years, Newtown Square.
Caring and providing for his wife, Barbara, and three children was his priority, and he cherished time with his grandchildren, Steve Woodcock said. He was still friends with chums he had known since grade school.
“Friendships were a treasure to him, and if you were called his friend, he truly loved you,” his son said.
From high school to his final years, he said, the feature of Mr. Woodcock’s that people always seemed to recall was his smile.
“[My father] was never known to complain about a thing,” Steve Woodcock said. “He took ‘the bad’ in stride and pressed on. Any ‘good’ was a blessing and not to be squandered.”
In addition to his son, Mr. Woodcock is survived by his wife, son John F. Woodcock, daughter Pam Bennett, his brothers, six grandchildren, and other relatives.
A memorial service will be held 11 a.m. Friday, June 18, at Paoli Presbyterian Church, 225 South Valley Rd., Paoli, Pa., 19301.
Donations in Mr. Woodcock’s memory may be made to the White Horse Village Endowment Employee Appreciation Fund, Attention: Mission Enhancement Department, 535 Gradyville Rd., Newtown Square, Pa., 19307, or online at www.whitehorsevillage.org/charitable-giving, or the Parkinson’s Foundation 1359 Broadway, Suite 1509, New York, N.Y., 10018 or online at www.parkinson.org.