Donald Robert WOODLEY
Donald Robert WOODLEY
  • September 25, 1931 - February 2, 2017
  • Tempe, Arizona

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Mesa, AZ 85202
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Donald Robert Woodley said a peaceful goodbye to this world on Feb. 2nd. Our much loved father, grandfather and amateur philosopher was 85 years young and left us all smiling bittersweetly. Because how can you mourn a man who lived every day like it was his last - full-out and full of fun - until he was just done? Instead, we celebrate the unique man he was. A man who was always up for a serious debate on world issues and deep subjects, more than willing to go boating at the lake and try new adventures, and for whom family was everything. He made each member of his family feel loved and cared for and inspired in us independence (in thought and action) and freedom to live outside the box. He had a standing Friday movie night with daughters Ann and Debbie, never missed a birthday party or family celebration and called his out-of-town kids once a week religiously. A sports fan, tennis and chess player, movie buff, camper, ruthless 'Grouch' and Hearts card player - he will be greatly missed by all (including the ducks at the lake).

Don was born Sept. 25, 1931 in Buffalo, New York, the oldest son of Robert and Lou Woodley. He and his younger brother Dick grew up in Buffalo. He graduated at the top of his class from Cornell University with a degree in Industrial and Labor Relations. He served in the U.S. Air Force as a pilot, flying C124s. After that, he got his Masters in Theology at Texas Christian University and became a Presbyterian Minister in California. Later he worked as the Personnel Director at several aerospace companies in Southern California and then in Tucson, Arizona. He went on to become the Director of the Arizona Job College in Casa Grande, the Chamber of Commerce Manager, and then a stock broker and financial planner in Mesa for many years.

But by far his greatest pride was in being a father to Ann Woodley of Tempe, Steve Woodley (Sheri) of San Diego; Debbie Gardner of Mesa; Sue Bjorkman (Ernie) of Denver; and Karen Woodley of Sacramento. His grandchildren, Michelle, Katie (Robert), Chris (Bre), Amy (Seth), Alli (Brendon), Jeff (Mariah), Kevin, Danny, Tom (Michelle), Alan (Chelsea), Matt (Kimberly), Zack, and Laura (Jason), and his three nephews and a niece (and their families), also brought him immeasurable joy. He was also blessed with 16 great-grandchildren. He taught each of us many lessons, and was a thoroughly involved, 'there' kind of father and grandfather.

Don lived with Type 1 diabetes for 64 years - a disease that gave him many trials but never got him down. He also survived so many heart-related scares that we called him the "Miracle Man' and somehow believed he'd never leave us. But he went on his own terms, in his sleep, secure in the knowledge that he was love and that we were all okay. We are much better people because of him.

A service will be held to celebrate his life at 10 a.m. on Saturday, February 11, 2017, at the Community Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), 1701 S. College Avenue, Tempe, Arizona 85281, with a brief reception afterwards. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any donations be made to The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).