Cover photo for Robert "Bob" Lee Woolford's Obituary
Robert "Bob" Lee Woolford Profile Photo

Robert "Bob" Lee Woolford

September 9, 1940 — August 18, 2022

Shawnee, Kansas

Robert “Bob” Lee Woolford passed to his rest on August 18, 2022, after a long journey with Alzheimer’s.

Bob was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on September 9, 1940.  His grandmother, Flora Dean Woolford, raised her four grandsons.  She instilled a strong work ethic and respect for people.  She would be proud of all four boys and the lives they led.  Bob was born with cerebral palsy, and in his early days of life he wore braces, received treatments and therapy at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and attended Camp Greentop near Camp David.  He never let his disability slow him down.

Bob is predeceased by his brothers, Harrel and Nelson; his brother Steven survives him.  He leaves his wife, Betty, with whom he celebrated almost 59 years of marriage.  His children, Ron and Valerie (Tad), entered this family filled with love, laughter and many family tales.  He adored his grandchildren, Nate, Emme, and Libby Woolford, and Jaden Stricker.

He met Betty on her 16th birthday when she began school at Greater Baltimore Academy.  It was not quite love at first sight, but began a tale that he loved sharing.  He knew she was the one when she could decipher his handwriting and type all of the Baltimore Colts plays the day after each game.  Then Betty sealed the deal when she showed him what she was made of as they climbed and hiked through Shenandoah National Park during senior class trip.  They continued to date for three years while Betty earned her nursing degree.  Bob attended Emmanuel Missionary College in Berrien Springs Michigan, for four months.  Then he determined that the best education is at the School of Hard Knocks!

Bob and Betty married in Baltimore, Maryland, on September 1, 1963.  Their first jobs were at Hinsdale Adventist Hospital near Chicago.  They returned to Silver Spring, Maryland, where Bob worked at Sligo Seventh-Day Adventist School, and the General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists.  The next move took them to Shawnee Mission, Kansas, where they were planning to serve at the “Mission” hospital for a couple of years before returning to Maryland.  Now, 48 years later, their home is still in Shawnee!  Bob worked at Shawnee Mission Medical Center for 32 years in a variety of roles, and he touched many lives.  Everyone has a story to share about his kindness, a practical joke he played, or many other uniquely Bob Woolford moments throughout the years!  His infectious laugh and grin from ear to ear were trademarks!  One of Bob’s passions was the Infant Development Center (B.E. Smith Britain Development) at Shawnee Mission.  He knew first-hand the challenges the children faced and he raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to support the program.

Bob served on many community service organizations throughout his career.  He sought to make a difference in the place he lived and worked.  Former Kansas City Royals and NFL Super Bowl groundskeeper, George Toma (inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2001), presented Bob with a congratulatory letter upon Bob’s retirement.  Toma included a t-shirt with a phrase they both loved and that reflected their shared dedication to a job well done – “And then some!”

Bob was devoted to the Seventh-Day Adventist education, and the Seventh-Day Adventist church.  One of his major projects was chairing the Midland Adventist School Board of Directors and raising funds to construct a new building for generations of students and teachers to benefit from a first-class facility.  Bob was also known in the Adventist church for his many years coordinating the nominating committee for the General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists.  He walked hundreds of miles during six sessions!  Everyone knew Bob, and Bob knew everyone.

Bob and Betty loved traveling around the world.  The only continent they didn’t venture to was Antarctica.  They appreciated the many opportunities to experience new people, new ideas, and new foods!  He was an avid football and baseball fan—especially the winning team.  One of his highlights was attending the Baltimore Oriole baseball game with his son, Ron, on the day when Cal Ripkin broke the record for the most consecutive games played in MLB history.  This accomplishment exemplified Bob’s career!  He was proud to say that he never missed a day of work—until a kidney stone brought him down for a couple of days!  Even then, some would debate he didn’t stop working while he lay in the hospital bed making phone calls (until Betty had the phone removed!)

Bob loved life!  He loved work!  He loved his family and would do anything for them.  Betty was his Queen, and he adored her.  Every decision he made was to care for her in the most loving way possible.  He always said Betty was the smartest person he knew.  He only trusted her with his care.  Especially his health.  He would only let her make decisions for him in that department.  “She knows what is best for me!”  When he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2009, Bob shared with his daughter that everything would be OK.  “I’ve listed a great life.  I love my family.  I’m proud of my kids.  Don’t worry about me because I wouldn’t change anything!”  As Bob declined over the past 13 years, he lived out his life in the Bob Woolford fashion – his way!  His grip crushed your fingers up until the final day.  His words may have left many years ago, but his eyes twinkled and his sweet smile flashed across his face when his bride, Betty, entered the room!

We asked the difficult questions about how could this happen to our husband and father who served God throughout his life?  But why not?  Bob shared on more than one occasion “Having done all, after you’ve done all . . . just stand.  This is the testimony from Ephesians 6:10-13.  He lived with no regrets.  He asked God to lead his life and to give him strength as He led his family.  We know that God led us day by day.  Bob will rest in peace until that day we are all reunited, and he will again laugh and share his stories.

Memorial services will be Saturday, September 24, 2022, at 2:00 p.m. at New Haven Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 8714 Antioch Road, Overland Park, Kansas 66212.  We invite everyone to join us for this celebration of his life.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to:  B.E. Smith Britain Development (formerly Infant Development Center), AdventHealth Shawnee Mission, to support children with special needs in our community.


B.E. Smith Britain Development
7415 Grandview, Merriam KS 66204
Tel: 1-913-676-2253

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Service Schedule

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Memorial Service

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Starts at 2:00 pm (Central time)

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Haven Seventh-Day Adventist Church

8714 Antioch Road
Overland Park, KS 66212

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