John Alan Woodruff went on a permanent fishing trip with his dad and Grandpa Joe Woodruff on Sept. 10, 2023.
He was born to William Verness and Mary (Parker) Woodruff in Carlinville, on Feb. 1, 1939. He married Judith Colleen VanPelt on Nov. 9, 1963.
John grew up in Carlinville, enjoying the freedom of small town living in the 40’s where he enjoyed the outdoors, was a High School All-American in football, threw the discus and shot put, and participated in Band and Chorus activities. He played football for one year at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. John graduated as a Field Biology major from Southern Illinois University at Alton in 1963.
He started his career as a textbook editor/writer for a High School publishing company. He later became a mainframe computer specialist and after years of programming and system design, he went into management and consulting. He worked in both the public and private sectors for over 40 years. While working for the State of Illinois, he oversaw many of the early efforts to consolidate computers, including establishment of the Data Processing Department of the new Department of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse and development of several PC-based systems for the Illinois State Board of Education. In addition, he was an Assistant Professor in the Business School at Sangamon State University (now UIS) and an Adjunct Professor at Lincoln Land Community College, specializing in System Development and Business Management.
John was actively involved in the Springfield Theater scene. He was on stage at Springfield’s Muni 15 times in 14 years. He was fortunate enough to play Amos Hart in Springfield’s original production of “Chicago” and was known as “Mr. Cellophane.” After he and Judy built their dream log home in rural New Berlin in 1993, he concentrated more on Theater in the Park and venues in Jacksonville. Ultimately, he got into directing local productions including Carousel, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and others. He restaged the Epic poem “John Brown’s Body’ for the modern theater and wrote and directed three successful plays: “Civil War Journeys”, “Drummer Girl”, and “Baltimore Plot.” He was a member of a local storytellers group, loved to write short, two-person plays, and was fascinated by history and family ancestry.
John was an avid hunter and fisherman, and enjoyed golf, was a member of Ducks Unlimited, the NRA and the Capitol City Men’s Chorus.
He is also survived by his wife; son, Jim Woodruff of San Diego, CA; daughter, Beth (Bob) Paton of Collierville, TN; grandchildren. Tim Paton, Andy (Lydia) Paton, Bailey Woodruff, Parker Woodruff and Riley Woodruff.
The family will greet friends from 5:00pm until 7:00pm on Friday September 22, 2023 at Bisch Funeral Home West, 2931 Koke Mill Road. An additional visitation will be held from 10:00am until the time of funeral mass at 11:00am on Saturday September 23, 2023 at Catholic Church of St. Jude, 633 South Walnut Street in Rochester. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the John and Judy Woodruff Scholarship Fund C\O Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln, www.cfll.org.