Witwithwords Blog

Archive for June 2017

A smile for everyone

My sister, Pam Woodbury LeRoy, would have loved her wake and memorial service! Everyone she loved the most was there – children Darcy, Curt and Michelle and their husbands Russ and Ed and Kristin; grandchildren Tyler, Cody, EJ, Heather, Ethan, Annie, Gus, Zac and Luke and then Maddie and Hayden Lightly, the 2 she informally adopted; sisters Linda, Cyndie and me, my brother Woodyand our significant others, Jerry and Russ; all of the Stagg cousins, including Danny, the one she partly raised; finally Jack Myer, who represented the Woodbury clan.

Pam’s heart for people was bigger than she was. Fun to be around, she smiled and laughed most. She was the grandmother “Benyen” every kid wanted. Matriarch of the family, she was the first port in a storm, the major caretaker who everyone turned to when they needed help or advice.

“She is family,” we heard over and over again – from childhood and Ramapo Regional H.S. pals (Skip Burgess, Chuck O’Brien, to name a few) to longtime Wyckoff NJ neighbors and friends (Norm Taranto, Steve and Lee Cherry, Steven Rae, the Soumas family, Jodi) to Milford PA neighbors and friends (Mailbox Sue and Fred, Milford PA Garden Club, Curves, Swim Aerobics, Book Club, Mahjong) and even new friends (swim class and upstairs neighbors) from Franklin Lakes, NJ.

Her nail person, hairdresser, a whole contingent of people from Mulberry Drive in PA who said their street was too quiet since she and Lynn, (her longtime husband) moved back to NJ a year and a half ago. Just like in Wyckoff, “there was always a party there. Her door was always open! We missed all of her fun.”

Pam always wanted a Stagg family cousin reunion…well she got one, minus Aunt Hope. Cousin Father Bob Stagg led the meaningful service. Granddaughters Heather spoke of her grandmother’s talents, Annie and Maddie and grandson Gus did a responsive reading. Nieces Kelley Drukker and Alexa Thomas Ingram provided reflections. Woody performed his special eulogy, with deep emotion and then levity, from the ONLY Brother’s perspective. Danny added a funny tribute and Pam’s son, Curtis, closed the house with an amusing tale.

Pam would have relished the parties afterwards. As the wake was closing and the Oakland and Wyckoff Fire auxiliary, Police and EMS departments were saluting her, the fire whistle went off. Firemen including her grandsons and granddaughter Heather rushed to their cars, Cyndie raced to the fire—that was one street away from the family compound owned by Linda and Woody! Everyone got to watch them put it out. The next day as the service ended, the same thing occurred, only now the luncheon was at the firehouse!

This was one of Woody’s main heart-throbs when Derek was a baby. She and Woody are godparents. She had a “batmobile” at the time!

And then, of course, Derek met his Godmother for the first time! (Go to Derek Thomas’ Facebook page for more information.)

Pam must have been guffawing in heaven! She touched so many lives, just by being herself! In her honor, PLEASE LAUGH and SMILE once today.

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