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Life Story / Obituary
Dearly loved and admired, Char Woods was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and friend. She added much to the lives of those around her with her loving spirit, giving nature and encouraging words. Family was by far Char’s greatest joy. In them she found her treasure which always made her heart glad and thankful. Her family will always have the cherished memories she now leaves behind.
Born on January 17, 1937, in the community of Mt. Vernon, Ohio along the Kokosing River, Charlene was one of two children and the only daughter of Walter and Mae (Fischer) Veatch. 1937 would become an eventful year altogether as the nation was in awe as the Golden Gate Bridge was brought to completion. News of the day included aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart’s disappearance, which continues to remain a mystery, while the explosion of the Hindenburg marked the end of the airship era. Although life continued to be a struggle for families, the repercussions of the Great Depression were slowly coming to an end and hope was on the horizon.
In her early years, Char was raised alongside her older brother, Charles in nearby Howard, Ohio. When her father took a promising machine shop job at Goddard & Goddard, he moved their family to Detroit, Michigan where they made their home in the Six Mile and Lahser area. Char’s mother remained at home caring for their family. Like many of her generation, Char’s childhood was shaped by World War II. Much was being done for the war effort, and manufacturing boomed. Even so, Char enjoyed her youth attending the local schools and making friends.
Char’s wonderful artistic talent was evident in her earliest years. Quite talented in painting, while attending Redford High School she had the opportunity to expound on her talent by taking Saturday morning painting classes at the renowned Detroit Institute of Art. Her earliest paintings include a giraffe and chicken done when she was 17 and 18 years old. She also went on to take art lessons at the YMCA on Grand River. During this time she won Scholastic Art Awards at the state and national levels. One of these was in the greeting card division. Char was especially proud of the two All-City gold keys she earned during this time.
After graduating from Redford High School, she took courses at DBI, the Detroit Business Institute to become a comptometer operator. She excelled in this area and was soon hired by the United Motor Service division of General Motors when she was merely 18 years old. She would come to work at GM for the following eight years.
It was while working at GM when Char came to know the young man who swept her off her feet. Although she and David Woods worked in the same division, in the same building and on the very same floor, they really didn’t know of each other at first. Char rode in a carpool driven by a mutual friend of theirs, and it wasn’t until Dave’s car was in for repair that he became part of the carpool. One day while they were all riding together, Dave was bemoaning how challenging it was to date girls who lived on the “east side”. That was when Char spoke up from the back seat to say, “What about Six Mile and Lahser?!” Soon after that they went on their very first date which led to many more, and they eventually came to share a deep, abiding love.
Char and Dave shared vows of marriage and the newlyweds could not have been happier. While Dave continued on at GM, Char remained at home making a good home for him and in time, their new baby girl, Sandy. Their first home was in Livonia near Schoolcraft and Inkster before they moved to a house near Six Mile and Merriman. When Dave’s job was transferred to the Flint area of Swartz Creek, they moved to Flushing. They eventually built a large custom home that backed up to the Flint River. Char so enjoyed seeing the variety of wildlife that inhabited the area, including deer and red foxes. She enjoyed feeding the animals and birds, and could never resist feeding the many feral cats that roamed the woods near the river and their home.
Becoming a mother was one of Char’s most endearing times. She often counted the first five years of her daughter’s life as the best years of her own. An attentive and loving mother, Char was involved in Sandy’s school and extra activities. She volunteered when needed, and she took a keen interest in her friends and the things Sandy enjoyed. Very proud of Sandy, Char could not have asked for a better daughter. She also enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren and did so at every opportunity.
When her daughter was grown with a life of her own, Char no longer had to solely concentrate on being a homemaker and mom. With much urging, Dave convinced Char to venture back into her love for painting. She took a class at the Flushing senior center taught by Bettie Rae Stevens and loved it. Char’s talented nature was alive and well, and during this time she made some very dear friends. Throughout these years she painted her most recent works and was still painting with her art group in 2016, years after Bettie Rae had passed away. Char downplayed her talent as a painter. She never required the accolades and praises as some, and in fact, she never even sold any of her works. She gave some of them as gifts, yet not very many.
Most recently, Char and Dave relocated to Livonia after making Flushing their home for 35 years. Char was thrilled to find an apartment right around the corner from daughter Sandy and son-in-law Wayne. They were pleased to get a unit that looks out on a beautiful wooded area and creek, reminiscent of the property they left. While they missed their friends from the Flint area, they were fascinated to see how Livonia has changed in their absence. Char and Dave have enjoyed reconnecting with friends from many years ago.
There was no one quite like Char Woods. She delighted all with her easy-going nature and kindness. Admired greatly for her painting talent, Char never much cared for the limelight. Her family, however, was the heartbeat of Char. She devoted her life to those who meant the most to her, and she would not have wanted it any other way. Although she is dearly missed, Char’s love lives on in those who came to know and love her.
Charlene M. (nee Veatch) Woods, age 80, passed away peacefully in her sleep August 26, 2017. Beloved wife of David; dearest mother of Sandra (Wayne) Jaslow; proud grandmother of Sarah and Evan. Also surviving are numerous nieces, nephews and dear friends. Char’s family will receive friends on Wednesday from 1-9pm at Neely-Turowski Funeral Home, 30200 Five Mile (Between Middlebelt and Merriman) where a Funeral Service will be held on Thursday at 11am. To leave a favorite memory and to sign her online guestbook, please visit www.TurowskiFuneralHome.com. Donations in memory of Char are appreciated for: Backdoor Friends Purebred Cat Rescue, 35560 Grand River #305, Farmington Hills, MI 48335