Robert W. Woody

Robert Wells Woody was born in Mr. Woody was born in Roanoke, VA and was a 1935 graduate of Roanoke College. He earned a Master’s in business administration in 1937, from the Harvard Business School. Mr. Woody was a man who believed in duty, truth, and honor, but the love of his family, community and country was paramount in his life. He was a mild-mannered man who did not seek the limelight and frequently stated “that getting the job done was his main objective, not recognition”. He was a long-time member of St. John’s Episcopal Church and active in its Vestry.

Mr. Woody joined the United States Navy in June 1942, and served as Communications Officer and Aide to Rear Admiral Morton L. Deyo. He participated in support of the Normandy Invasion and later received the Bronze Star medal for valor while serving in the Pacific Theatre. He was honorably discharged with the rank of Lieutenant in 1946, at the conclusion of World War II.

As a long-standing business leader in the Roanoke area, he very active in public service. He was President of Roanoke Hardware Company, and later Chairman and President of Nelson Roanoke Corporation. In 1968, he was elected President and CEO of the Vance Company. He served on the Roanoke City Council from 1952-1956; first as Vice Mayor for two years and then as Mayor of Roanoke for a two-year term. He was President of the Chamber of Commerce in 1980, and he chaired the restoration of the Mayor’s Monument in Elmwood Park in 2009.

Robert Woody believed strongly in giving back to his community, with both time and money. He served on the Board of Carilion Health System and Roanoke Hospital Association for nearly 40 years, 18 years of which he was chairman. He also served for many years on the boards of the Roanoke Gas Company, Walker Machine and Foundry, First National Exchange Bank, First Federal Savings & Loan, Roanoke College, and the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges. He was active in the arts community with leadership roles in the Roanoke Historical Society, the Roanoke Symphony Society, and the Roanoke Fine Arts Museum -now the Taubman Museum of Art. In addition, he led the General Campaign for the Southwest Virginia Center for The Arts and Sciences, now known as “Center in the Square.”

He served as Chairman of the Roanoke City Budget Planning Commission, Chairman of the Roanoke Charter Study Committee, chaired the Campaign for the Roanoke Civic Center Building Committee, and served as Chairman of the Roanoke Municipal Airport Commission and Vice Chairman of the Industrial Development Authority of the City of Roanoke.

While always modest about his achievements, he was publicly acknowledged on several occasions for his active role in the Roanoke community and dedication to civic service. In 1966, he received The Jaycees “Outstanding Civic Citizen Award.” In 1967, he was awarded Roanoke College’s Medal for Distinguished Service and Professional Achievement. In 1981, he received the “Roanoke’s First Citizen Award” established by the Roanoke City Council. In 1996, he was inducted into the Southwest Virginia Business Hall of Fame and passed away in April 2011.

Robert W. Woody was inducted into the Southwest Virginia Business Hall of Fame in 1995.

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