William E. Woodlon, “Woody” to all who knew him, was born in New York City to the late Ellsworth “Pete” and Willie Woodlon on April 13, 1950. The fourth of seven children, Woody was raised on the Lower East Side and educated in the New York City public school system. After graduation, he attended the City College of New York, where he met his future wife. On September 10, 1977, Woody and Barbara were united in holy matrimony.
As a young adult, Woody volunteered at the Boys Brotherhood of Republic, where he counseled and coached community kids and enriched them with his knowledge of the game he loved, basketball. Woody was known for his deep voice, boisterous personality, his basketball skills, and community outreach. He played in many tournaments, won many awards and trophies, and taught his granddaughter, Cinnamon, the dynamics of the game.
Woody worked with the New York City Board of Education as a custodial handyman and later as a stationary fireman at Joan of Arc High School. In 1982, he pursued his lifelong dream to become a firefighter with the New York City Fire Department, starting his career with Engine39/Ladder 16, “The Giant,” on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. He was an active member of the Vulcan Society. He ended his career with Engine 21, “The Club,” in Midtown Manhattan. Being a first responder during 2001 search and rescue took a toll on Woody; he completed his 21 years of service by retiring in 2002.
Fondly regarded as “the mayor” of his neighborhood, Woody provided the youth in El Barrio with opportunities to express their sportsmanship skills in the game of basketball. Throughout his life, many people utilized his knowledge, skills, and connections as a community liaison. The Community Partners and Community Council of the 25th Precinct officially recognized Woody for his outstanding service, dedication, and commitment for enriching his community and providing a powerful example for the youth. Through his bravery and dedication to the East Harlem community and New York City as a whole, he touched many lives and walked amongst the best of men.
Woody’s life came to a peaceful close while surrounded by family and loved ones. He leaves to cherish his memories his wife of 39 years, Barbara; his children, Monique, Tachelle, and Candice; his grandchildren, Precious, Gregory, Kaiya, Grant, Cinnamon, Sienna, Storm, and Blaze; and many extended family members and dear friends. All of his family and friends that he cherished were supportive until the end, they were the unconditional loves of his life.