Lena Mary Thompson Woodward, 89, of Dwight, IL, entered Heaven with a new body, no longer crippled nor hurting, on May 20, 2023. A visitation will be held from 4 to 8 PM on Thursday, May 25th, at the First Baptist Church, 401 N Clinton St, Dwight, IL. On Friday, May 26th, a visitation will be held there from 9 to 10 AM, followed by her Homegoing Celebration, officiated by Evangelist Dan Martin of Plainwell, MI, and Pastor Terry Anglea of Faith Baptist Church in Bourbonnais, IL. Interment will be at Oaklawn Cemetery in Dwight. Hager Memorial Home of Dwight is caring for arrangements.
Lena was born October 1, 1933, in Mysore, India, to Eunice Reffner Thomson (of Kansas) and Thomas Thomson (of Scotland) who met in India as Independent Baptist missionaries. Lena spent her early years in India with her younger brother, Alexander. At the end of WWII, following the death of her father, five-year-old Lena was brought to America to live with her Aunt Helen and Uncle Don Reffner, who eventually moved to a farm in Rudolph, WI. Lena helped with the chores and her young cousins. Her mother returned to serve in India as a widow. Lena graduated from Rudolph High School and went on to receive her nursing degree from the West Suburban School of Nursing, in Oak Park, IL. She worked as a nurse for 40 years. She enjoyed serving in many departments including surgery, and as a head ER nurse at St. Catherine’s Hospital in Kenosha, WI.
Lena met her husband, Leroy Herman Woodward of Wisconsin Rapids, WI, at church and they were married on May 28th, 1954, when he returned from serving in the Navy during the Korean War. Together they reared six children, eventually settling in Kenosha, WI. Upon retiring, they enjoyed RVing for several years, before moving to Dwight, IL. Leroy preceded Lena in death in 2010.
At age 30, as a young mother, while driving, Lena was broadsided by a drunk driver. The injuries sustained led to the first of 7 hip replacements. This, along with other health concerns, never stopped her from pressing forward for her Lord and our family. She has been our example of an overcomer of life’s hardships with a heart that learned to trust in Christ her Saviour.
Those who have benefitted by Lena’s gift of sewing are invited to bring their quilts to display at her funeral. Many are the baby, wedding, and friendship quilts created by her talented hands. Those same hands lovingly turned the pages in her Prayer Book for several hours every day for many years, after she became confined to a wheelchair. Lena always desired to do whatever she could to serve the Lord and others.
Her prayers and wisdom will be missed by our family, April Woodward of Reno, NV; Daniel (Cindy) Woodward of Dwight, IL; Corie (Stuart) Marks of Castle Rock, WA; Laurie Woodward of Newberry, SC; Janell Woodward of Reno, NV; Michele Schurle of Lancaster, CA; and grandchildren, Joshua (Katie) Hamilton, Stephanie Rallion, Rachel (Austin) Merriott, Megan Woodward-Meyer, Rebekah (Micah) McCurry, RuthAnne (J.J.) Curtis, and Dylan Schurle; and great-grandchildren, Hailey Woodward and Emmalyn Ramon; Nicholas, Kane, Rylan & Kaisley Hamilton; Adaleigh & Lemuel Merriott; Emmy and Lucy McCurry; as well as the many servants of God and friends whose lives have been affected by her prayers and testimony.
She was welcomed Home to Heaven by her precious Saviour, parents, husband Leroy of 56 years, brother Alexander, and son-in-law Mark Schurle.
Lena was a faithful member of the First Baptist Church of Dwight, IL, where her son has been her pastor. She loved going to church, reading God’s Word, her family and friends, sewing and quilting, traveling, seeing God’s creation, and watching the deer from her window and the birds that came to her feeders.
Our mother is not one whose life can be summed up in a few paragraphs. She was our example and our hero. She leaves behind a beautiful and challenging testimony of a loving wife and mother, an overcomer of hardships by the grace of God and trust in her Saviour, a prayer warrior, a true friend, and a sincere Christian.
Proverbs 3:5-6 were very precious verses to Lena which helped to guide her heart and life. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy way acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Midwest Christian Boys’ Football Camp, a ministry of the First Baptist Church of Dwight, where she served as a camp nurse for many years. www.mancamp1994.org
Online condolences may be made at www.hagermemorialhome.com.