Gordon Harold Woodford, 95, of Augusta, died on March 27, 2018, at Grace Woodlands Assisted Living in Eau Claire. Gordon was born November 16, 1922, near Fall Creek in Eau Claire County to John “Jack” and Esther (Miller) Woodford. He attended rural schools and was active in 4-H, but left school after graduating from the eighth grade to work full-time on the family farm. Gordon met Ruth Elaine Ruppelt at the Silver Dome near Neillsville and they were married on April 8, 1944. They began their life together on the Ruppelt family farm in the Thompson Valley area of Bridge Creek Township. They operated the farm with Ruth’s parents, Herman and Stella, and it was where their three children were born. Gordon also worked at Badger Barn Cleaners, at the Augusta Can Company, and at Bush Brothers Canning Company. He was the first person in Augusta to make the sauce for the original style baked beans.
Gordon and Ruth moved to Augusta in 1960 and Gordon began working full-time for Wayne Paddock and later for Lampert Yards. Gordon was a meticulous carpenter whose work was much admired. After retiring from Lampert’s, he continued to do carpentry work with his brother Rolland. In later years, Gordon enjoyed going for drives and pointing out the many homes and businesses he either helped to build or remodel. Throughout the years he also helped with many building and remodeling projects for each of his children and several grandchildren, as well as for other family members and friends. There was no project that he was incapable or unwilling to tackle and you could rest assured that it would be beautifully done.
In 1963 Gordon and Ruth purchased the former Blue Bird Café just outside the Augusta city limits. They remodeled the structure, turning it into a lovely home where many wonderful memories were made. Gordon and Ruth could often be seen at work in their large yard, which featured Ruth’s beautiful flowers gardens, lawn ornaments, and many of Gordon’s wooden creations, including a working lighthouse, a large wishing well, a bridge, and wooden whirly-gigs. They were very proud to have been honored numerous times with the “Lawn of the Month” award. Gordon and Ruth also raised a vegetable garden and tended a large raspberry patch, grape arbor, and small apple orchard. They enjoyed walking in the yard with visitors, especially children who enjoyed the almost park-like setting. Gordon also enjoyed watching the birds that came to the feeders he placed just outside the large living room window.
Gordon and Ruth loved attending social events, rarely missing a wedding, a birthday or anniversary party, or their grandchildren’s school events. They were active members of their square dance club, wearing the beautiful matching costumes made by Ruth. Gordon loved to polka and was always on the floor “doing the twist” when a rock and roll number was played. They also loved to travel and had visited most of the Continental United States, although Gordon preferred to let someone else drive!
Whenever the kids and grandkids came to visit, Gordon always made sure ice cream was served and he was always ready for a game of cards or Racko. He enjoyed watching TV and rarely missed “Wheel of Fortune”, "Walker, Texas Ranger", or a Packers game. He liked working crossword and jigsaw puzzles or tinkering in the garage or basement. His children and grandchildren will forever treasure the gifts he made for them over the years, including Adirondack chairs, children’s rocking chairs, doll high chairs, step stools, cabinets, tables, headboards, and much more. He enjoyed his role as grandpa immensely, whether it was wrestling on the floor, reading storybooks, watching cartoons, shooting baskets, giving wagon rides behind the riding lawn mower, doing the hula hoop, or giving birthday spankings.
Gordon continued to live in the home he and Ruth loved following her death on February 1, 2006. In November 2015, he moved to Grace Woodlands. Gordon will be remembered as a kind, quiet, honest, and hard-working man, with a tender heart and a very soft spot for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
In addition to his wife, Gordon was preceded in death by his parents; grandson Randy T. Wathke; siblings and their spouses, Stanley and Sadie Lardahl, Jerry and Mattie Woodford, Harold and Linda Woodford, Rolland Woodford, and Everett Woodford; brothers-in-law Art Ruppelt, Fred and Esther Ruppelt; and long-time friend William “Bill” Bailey. Gordon was also preceded in death by half-siblings, Coral Gilbertson, Charlotte Kizer, Rachel Brott, Marshall, Loyal, Leslie, and Kenneth Woodford.
He is survived by his children, Ronda Wathke of Osseo, Janet and Jerry Bowman of Fairchild, Dennis and Patty Woodford of Menomonie; grandchildren, Becky Nowlin, Rockie (Char) Bowman, Marcy (Kevin) Hagen, Ryan (Sarah) Woodford, Andrew (Ashley) Woodford, Alison (Andrew) Dusek; granddaughter-in-law, Amanda Wathke (Jerry Livingston); great-grandchildren, Aaron, Shane, Logan, Austin, Kaden, Chayceton, Ethan, Steven, Jessica, Alaina, Joshua, Anna, Caleb, Ryleigh, Reese, and Sawyer; great-great-grandchildren, Jasper, Klohie, Brodie, and Grayson; sister, Lois (Bill) Walker of Augusta; sisters-in-law Delores Woodford of Augusta, Lorraine Youngren of Centuria; and long-time family friend Barbara Bailey of Eau Claire, as well as many nieces, nephews, and friends.
A visitation will be held Friday, April 20, 2018, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Anderson Funeral Home in Augusta. Funeral services will be held Saturday, April 21, 2018, at 11:00 a.m. at the First Baptist Church in Augusta, with grandson-in-law Pastor Kevin Hagen officiating. Friends may also call 1 hour prior to services Saturday at the church. Burial will be in the East Lawn Cemetery in Augusta.