Robert Pope Woodruff (1909-1981)

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Robert Pope Woodruff
Woodruff, Robert Pope.jpg
Bob Woodruff
Born: 11 Oct 1909 Petoskey, Michigan
Died: 9 Dec 1981 Petoskey, Michigan
Father: Robert Franklin Woodruff
Mother: Evelyn Frances Pope
Siblings: Robert Pope Woodruff
Raymond Alden Woodruff
Evelyn Jean Woodruff
Kathryn M. Woodruff
Spouse: Margaret Ellen Whitehill
Married: 1 Jul 1937 Petoskey, Michigan
Children: Ann M. Woodruff
Robert W. Woodruff
John Woodruff
Marcia Woodruff


Petoskey News-Review, Thursday, December 10, 1981:

‘Bob’ Woodruff
Dies at Age 72

Funeral services for Robert P. Woodruff, 72, retired teacher, coach and city recreation director, will be held Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Petoskey United Methodist Church. Rev Donald Merrill will officiate and burial will be in Greenwood Cemetery.

Mr. Woodruff died Dec. 9 at Little Traverse Division of Northern Michigan Hospitals.

He was born Oct. 11, 1909 in Petoskey and attended Petoskey schools, graduating from Petoskey High School in 1928. While in high school, Mr. Woodruff played football and basketball, playing guard on both defense and offense at 135 pounds for the famous PHS team of 1926-27. This was the team that never had a touchdown scored through their line in 18 consecutive games. He then attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and graduated in 1932 with a B.S. degree in education.

On July 1,1937 he married the former Margaret Whitehill in Petoskey. The couple made their home in the Manistique area until 1939 when they moved back to Petoskey when Mr. Woodruff accepted the position of Petoskey Recreation Director. He held that post far 20 years, instituting many recreation programs that continue today. He initiated swimming meets, field days, tennis tournaments and evening ball games. He had programs for youngsters throughout the day and softball games in the evening. In the fall he had six-man football teams and during the winter organized men's basketball and volleyball leagues.

In 1944, Mr. Woodruff was named head coach at Harbor Springs, coaching both football and basketball. He later taught school at Petoskey Middle School and also taught adult education classes. In 1946 he was active in the formation of the Northwestern Michigan Baseball league and served as secretary of the organization.

Mr. Woodruff was a director of Camp Daggett for 10 years and was also a driver's education instructor for many years. He retired from teaching in 1975.

Mr. Woodruff was a member of the United Methodist Church; a member of Petoskey Kiwanis Club; a life member of Durand Lodge 344, F.&A.M.; a member of the Petoskey BPOE 629 and a member of the University of Michigan Alumni Association.

He is survived by his wife; two sons. Robert W. of Oden and John of Spring Lake; two daughters, Mrs. David (Ann) Martin of Kalamazoo and Mrs. John (Marcia) Teichman of Traverse City; 10 grandchildren, two sisters, Mrs. Jean Jones of Petoskey and Mrs. Leslie (Kathryn) Greenway of Dearborn.

The family suggests anyone wishing to honor the memory of Mr. Woodruff, may do so by contributing in his name to the United Methodist Church Memorial Fund, or Petoskey High School Athletic Department. Envelopes for those purposes are available at the Stone Funeral Home in Petoskey, where friends may call from 7 to 5 p.m. on Friday.


Petoskey News-Review, Friday, December 11, 1981:

Bob Woodruff and Kids

Bob Woodruff probably was involved with more kids over more years than just about anyone in Petoskey.

He ran Petoskey recreation many years, some times having more than 950 men, women and children active in a variety of programs. He worked with Junior high school kids in many areas in addition to classroom teaching some 30 years. For 10 years he was director of Camp Daggett's non-profit boys and girls camp on Walloon Lake. And he was frequently active in boys and girls work in the Kiwanis Club since his retirement in 1975.

Bob graduated from college in 1932 during the depth of The Great Depression when finding a job, any job, was probably about the worst in the history of the republic. But Bob got one. For five years he was an educational advisor in Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camps in the Upper Peninsula. Then he got a chance to return to Petoskey as rec director.

There were other interruptions. He taught mechanics to soldiers, he coached some rather successful basketball and football teams at Harbor Springs when most of their contests were with larger schools including Petoskey and Cheboygan. He next returned to Petoskey where he remained active and interested in young people the rest of his life.

For years he sent legions of eager young government students into the news room here checking historical facts on Petoskey and interviewing reporters— and me. He was an official scorer for basketball games for more years than I can remember and he remained an avid sports fan.

That's really not surprising when you go back to the days when he was in high school. Soaking wet he weighed all of 135 pounds but played guard on the football teams of John Hess and Gordon LeCronier in 1926 and 1927. That was before platoon football and free substitution and a player went both ways, and had to have stamina and endurance as well as ability. In those two regular seasons Petoskey scored 554 points to 9 for the opponents and won 18 straight. They held 16 of the 18 opponents completely scoreless and nobody carried the ball across their goal line. The one touchdown scored on Petoskey in the two seasons came on a recovered fumble.

Many of the participants in those two seasons remained close friends, even though scattered by distance and passing years. They held a 25th reunion and a 50th reunion here and several other get-togethers that were real fun affairs.

In recent years Bob's health has been far from the best and it finally caught up with him Wednesday. When he could, he had exercised by walking to try and keep trim. And before his latest illness he was a top ticket salesman for various Kiwanis fund-raisers, putting most of the rest of us to shame. That, too, should not be considered unusual if you knew Bob because he knew just about everybody. For many, three generations went through various aspects of his rec programs or had him as a teacher or advisor somewhere along the line.

Bob wasn't as gruff as his voice might have indicated to strangers. He was direct, though, and a disciplinarian of the old school and tolerated no goofing off. But he was also a good teacher who kept the attention of his students. He always had their best interest in mind, even if a few didn't think so at the time. Just ask any of 'Bob's kids' of the last 40 or so years.


  • Marriage: Emmet County, Michigan, Vital Records Search, Marriages:
Woodruff, Robert & Whitehill, Margaret
Date of Marriage: 7/1/1937
Liber: 5
Folio: 63
  • Death: Emmet County, Michigan, Vital Records Search, Deaths:
Woodruff, Robert P.
Date of Death: 12/9/1981
Liber: 1981
Folio: 453
Place of Death: Petoskey, MI
  • Death: Social Security Death Index:
Woodruff, Robert
Birth Date: 11 Oct 1909
Death Date: Dec 1981
Social Security Number: 372-20-2927
State Number Was Issued: Michigan
Death Residence Zip Code: 49770
Localities: Petoskey, Emmet, Michigan
Woodruff, Robert Pope
Age: 72
Born: 10/11/1909
Died: 12/9/1981
Burial: 12/12/1981
Cemetery: Greenwood, Petoskey
Obituary: on file
Section: J
Block: 200
Lot: 6