John Woodcock Jr., partner in Philadelphia accounting firm, dies at 86
John Woodcock Jr., 86, a dedicated accountant and family man, died of Parkinson’s disease on Wednesday June 9 in White Horse Village, a retirement community in Newtown Square.
Mr. Woodcock and his brothers Jim, Bill and Ron were the children of immigrants – John Woodcock Sr. was from Ireland and Isabella Kerr Woodcock was from Scotland – who, like their own siblings, came to the States -United to lead a better life. They settled in Ardmore and Mr. Woodcock grew up surrounded by dozens of cousins, with lessons about the importance of family and hard work that have remained with him his entire life.
“In this environment, he learned how the family takes care of each other,” said his son, Steve Woodcock. “No one has ever had a need because this extended family took care of each other in good times and bad.”
During the Korean War, Mr. Woodcock served in the United States Navy as an electronics technician and was one of the first sailors to achieve that qualification, his family said. He later also served as a Navy reservist.
After leaving the Navy, Mr. Woodcock was accepted into the Wharton Evening Program of Accounts and Finance at the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated with honors, and obtained his Chartered Accountant license.
He then spent his entire professional career with the Philadelphia accounting firm Tait, Weller and Baker, reaching the position of Managing Partner.
Mr. Woodcock also appreciated the community service. He was president of the municipal authority of the canton of Tredyffrin. He was a member of the Paoli Presbyterian Church for 51 years, serving as an administrator, elder, and chair of the church’s mission committee. He made deep friendships within his ecclesial community.
He loved golf and was an avid sailor, spending many weekends on the Chesapeake with his family. A lover of the outdoors, he taught his children to sail, fish, build fires and pitch a tent. He knew how to fend for himself around a grill; its cheese-stuffed burgers and London grill were part of the family legend. And her grandchildren couldn’t get enough of what the Woodcock clan called their “7-Up pancakes.” (We can guess the secret ingredient.)
Indeed, family and friends were the passions of his life, faithful to the lessons of his education, according to his relatives. He made connections in all the places he lived – Ardmore in his youth; Paoli and Devon as adults; and, for the past five years, Newtown Square.
Taking care of his wife Barbara and his three children was his priority, and he enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren, said Steve Woodcock. He was still friends with friends he had known since elementary school.
“Friendships were a treasure for him, and if you were called his friend, he really loved you,” his son said.
From high school to his later years, he said, the hallmark of Mr. Woodcock that people seemed to always remember was his smile.
“[My father] has never been known to complain about anything, ”said Steve Woodcock. “He took ‘the wrong’ without hesitation and kept going. Anything “good” was a blessing and should not be wasted. “
Besides his son, Mr. Woodcock is survived by his wife Barbara, son John F. Woodcock, daughter Pam Bennett, brothers, six grandchildren and other relatives.
A memorial service will be held Friday, June 18 at 11 a.m. at the Paoli Presbyterian Church, 225 South Valley Rd., Paoli, Pennsylvania 19301.
Donations in memory of Mr. Woodcock can be made to the White Horse Village Endowment Employee Appreciation Fund, Attention: Mission Enhancement Department, 535 Gradyville Rd., Newtown Square, PA, 19307 or online at www.whitehorsevillage.org/charitable-giving, or the Parkinson Foundation 1359 Broadway, Suite 1509, New York, NY 10018 or online at www.parkinson.org.