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Former Fairborn Mayor remembered as caring leader

Gary Woodward was a selfless man who lived by the golden rule, loved to serve his community, country and family, and enjoyed spending time outdoors, his family and friends said.

Woodward, the former Mayor of the city of Fairborn, passed away on Aug. 20 at the age of 66 after a brief illness.

Family and friends are celebrating Woodward’s life, which is filled with numerous achievements from both the public and private worlds. But you wouldn’t have known how accomplished he was if you talked to him, his wife, Diana said.

“He was a very quiet man, a very humble person,” she said. “Everything he did, he started on the bottom and worked his way up.”

Woodward — who retired from the United States Air Force as a Lt. Col. in 2002 — was Mayor of Fairborn from 2007-09. He served as a Councilman from 2001-07, including a tenure as deputy mayor from 2006-07.

“He absolutely loved this community,” said Diana, who would have been married to Gary for 44 years this November. “He was dedicated to the people. He was service-oriented. He believed in the goodness of people, and that if you show kindness to others, they will in turn show kindness in their own lives.”

Woodward entered the Air Force in 1967 as a private, choosing security police, and throughout his military career, his honors included the USAF Commendation Medal for supporting worldwide deployments and being recognized by the Ministry of Defense United Kingdom for leadership.

Current Fairborn Mayor Tom Nagel said he served with Woodward in various units of the military, and helped influence Woodward to run for public office in 2001.

“I knew what he was about then from that (military) experience,” Nagel said. “He was just a good, decent man that saw the good in people and wanted to help his community wherever he could.”

Woodward, a Greene County native, loved to plant flowers, trim trees and mow the grass, all while smoking a pipe, which was synonymous with him, Diana said.

“He was so sincere,” she said. “What you saw was what you got. We couldn’t go anywhere without someone coming up to him and talking to him. I was very proud to be his wife.”

The family will receive friends from 5-8 p.m. Friday at the Belton-Stroup Funeral Home in Fairborn. The funeral service is 10 a.m. Saturday at Faircreek Church.

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