Steven Lamar Woodall

WoodallSteven Lamar Woodall, 69, on June 1, 2020, at home in Stone Mountain, Ga., from pancreatic cancer. Steve (“Woody” to new friends from 1994 onward) was born October 2, 1950, in Toccoa, Ga., to Joseph Raymond Woodall and Frances Colleen (Alexander) Woodall. In 1954, the family moved to Clayton, Ga., where Steve attended public school, graduating as valedictorian in 1968. He left home to attend Duke University in Durham, N.C., intending to pursue a career in oceanography. He changed his major to religion and graduated in1972.

Steve became convinced that he could not kill and refused to cooperate with American involvement in Vietnam. His draft board granted him conscientious objector status. In the spring of 1971, Steve enrolled in Duke University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, receiving a master’s in 1974. Steve volunteered as a Peace Corps forester in Ghana in 1974–75, which he chose as his personal form of national service. In late 1976, he was hired as a research forester with the U.S. Forest Service, assigned to work in the wetlands of south Florida.

On a vacation trip to England in 1978, Steve met Sue Christine Turner, and they married in 1979. Two daughters were born of that marriage: Emily Clare and Sarah Edith.

After a Forest Service transfer to Athens, Ga., and a reduction-in-force under the Reagan administration, Steve entered a doctorate program in forest hydrology at the University of Georgia, completing it in 1985. Difficulties in his personal life and career led to an entry-level job with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division in 1987, and divorce in 1991.

In 1993, one year after moving to Atlanta, Ga., Steve found his spiritual home among Quakers at Atlanta Meeting. While attending his second Friends General Conference Gathering in 1994, Steve met Loretta Lucy Miller. They married under the care of Atlanta Meeting at Loretta’s meetinghouse in Plymouth Meeting, Pa. Steve and Loretta separated in 2000 and divorced in 2001.

In 2000, Steve joined the Atlanta Community Jazz Chorus (ACJC), his first organized singing since Duke Glee Club and Chancel Choir. Singing with ACJC for five years was a transformative experience that led Steve to become more deeply involved in work to undo racism. In 2004, after six years of employment at the environmental engineering firm Conestoga-Rovers and Associates, Steve left the firm to go out on his own as a self-employed consultant. This enabled him to more effectively adapt his vocation to his personal principles. In August 2008, Steve moved back to Clayton to assist with the care of his father, who died in January 2010, and his mother, who died in 2014. He retired from professional activities in 2010, and returned to Atlanta in 2018.

Steve is survived by his only sibling, Catherine Elaine Corrigan; two children, Emily Clare Cowherd and Sarah Edith Bradley; eight grandchildren; and a number of special friends, principally Ann P. Suich.

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