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John Everett Woodruff

March 10, 1933 ~ December 28, 2021 (age 88)


John Everett Woodruff

March 10, 1933 – December 28, 2021

Dr John Everett Woodruff, 88 years of age, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, December 28, 2021, after courageously and tenaciously battling Alzheimer’s for several years.

Retired professor of Biology at University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, Dr. Woodruff was born on March 10, 1933, to John and Anna Woodruff in Lawrence County Ohio. He attended Ashland Community College for undergraduate studies and then attended Marshall University and received his Master’s degree. In 1957 John married the love of his life, Reba Lou Kuehne. Graduating from Ohio State University in 1964 with a PhD in Plant Physiology, John accepted a teaching position at UWEC and relocated with Reba and young son to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where they welcomed a daughter shortly thereafter.

As a boy John and his family made long trips from Ohio to northern Minnesota to fish. As an adult, John took his family on yearly fishing trips to northern Minnesota, staying at various resorts in the Deer Lake region. Eventually John and Reba bought a home on Deer Lake, hosting friends and family over the years for overnights and fish fry meals. John methodically learned how to find the sandbars and walleyes on Deer Lake and enjoyed being an unofficial fishing guide for small mouth bass in the spring/summer and walleye in late summer and early fall. Pictures of him with his trusty lifejacket and bucket hat down on the dock are vivid in the minds of his family.

John’s dedication to his faith and commitment to his church were visible as he, together with Reba, served the Church of the Nazarene in many lay leadership roles throughout the years, including teaching and helping start new churches. His faith in God and the hymns that he learned as a boy in the hills of southern Ohio brought him much comfort and peace throughout his life and especially through the loss of Reba in June of 2021.

John’s love of plants and growing most likely began in southern Ohio with his father and his Uncle Delbert’s peach and apple orchards. John enjoyed sharing stories of his trips across the Ohio River to sell produce with his uncle. His grandchildren all have very fond memories of apple time, when he enjoyed cutting and serving apples in the evening. “Don’t you think it’s about apple time?” he’d say with his mouth watering.

In the summers John could be found in the garden staking up his mammoth Mortgage Lifter tomatoes that he loved to share. Growing flowers and an obsession with pesky dandelions and weeds in his lawn kept him busy. The wintery snowstorms in Wisconsin filled him with glee as did the opportunity to help others. His generous heart was experienced by many as he was quick to offer assistance when he knew there was a need. His compassion led him to welcome others and make them feel accepted.

John is survived by his son, John William Woodruff; daughter, Becky Dressel (Craig); ten grandchildren and three great-grandchildren; and multiple nieces and nephews.

Special thanks to Lake Hallie Memory Care and Mayo Health Hospice for their professional and attentive care.

A graveside memorial service will be held at a later date when the flowers are blooming and the grass is again green.

Friends and family may offer condolences online at

Hulke Family Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 3209 Rudolph Rd., Eau Claire, WI 54701 is assisting the family with arrangements.

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