Bernadette Woods

Bernadette Woods

Sunday, June 6th, 1943 Friday, April 3rd, 2020

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Obituary for Bernadette Theresa Woods (Lawlor)

A celebration of Bernadette's life will be held via live stream on Tuesday, April, 7, at 4:30PM

Click here for Bernadette's live funeral service

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WOODS, Bernadette (nee Lawlor) 76, of Oakland went to be with her Lord on April 3, 2020. Born in Manhattan, NY, she has lived in Oakland since 1973. Prior to her retirement, Bernadette worked at Ramapo High School. She was a member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church.

Bernadette, addressed by all as either Aunt Bern, Bern, or Ma, loved to entertain and opened her doors to friends and family. Every summer she hosted weekend barbecues at her home (known to all as Camp Arrowhead). She enjoyed listening to Irish music, doting on her grandchildren, playing sudoku, arts and crafts, baking, hosting Thanksgiving dinner, and traveling with her children and grandchildren to Puerto Rico, LBI and Nantucket.

Loving wife to Barry Woods to whom she was married for fifty-three years.
Devoted mother to Kelly Traudt and her husband Mark of Morristown, Colleen Kelly and her husband Rob of Suffern, NY, Matthew Woods and his wife Jessie of Waldwick, and Courtney Guiterman and her husband Eric of Oakland.
Beloved grandmother of Kirsten and Megan Traudt, Mikayla, Jack and Shane Kelly, Ryan Woods, and Connor, Braeden, Fiona, and Nolan Guiterman.
Dear sister of Helen Felix, Coleen Scalesi, Patricia Kiernan, Christine Lawlor-Plantamura, and the late Veronica Gonzalez, Kevin Lawlor, Cathy Lynch and Gerri Fitzgerald. Devoted aunt to many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, services will be held privately by the family. A service will be held via live stream on Tuesday, April 7th at 4:30pm. Please check back daily for any updates.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations in Bernadette Woods’s name to support pediatric cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Checks, made payable to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, should be mailed to:

Attn: Rachel Flannery
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Office of Development
PO Box 27106
New York, NY 10087
Please indicate on the check memo line that the gift is in memory of Bernadette Woods.

You can also contribute online here: Click here to donate

Do not stand at my grave and weep
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there… I do not sleep.
I am the thousand winds that blow…
I am the diamond glints on snow…
I am the sunlight on ripened grain…
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you waken in the morning’s hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of gentle birds in circling flight…
I am the soft star that shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry—
I am not there… I did not die.
* * *
Remembered Joy
Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free!
I follow the plan God laid for me.
I saw His face, I heard His call,
I took His hand and left it all…
I could not stay another day,
To love, to laugh, to work or play;
Tasks left undone must stay that way.
And if my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss…
Ah yes, these things I, too, shall miss.
My life’s been full, I’ve savoured much:
Good times, good friends, a loved-one’s touch.

In this solemn Lenten season we are always called to grieve, but all of us here in body and spirit are called to show greater strength, as we mourn not just Christ but the passing of someone who was at the heart of all of our lives—there was no greater wife, sister, mother, aunt, cousin, friend, or grandmother.
Bernadette Woods did not just bring light to this world, she was a sun, shining over the home she created and filling it with her love and laughter. In the Gospel Christ tells us of the greatness of His father’s house, and I cannot help but be reminded of a house bursting at the seams on Thanksgiving, at Christmas, on any summer Saturday, a place to which we all came because of its boundless capacity for love. It was in that place that my grandmother created a family not defined by blood relation but by love, a priceless gift which brings us solace today and will continue to define us for the rest of our time on this earth. Christ says that He will not leave us orphans; although we have lost such a vital member of our family, my grandmother spent her entire life teaching us to love and reminding us that we are worthy to be loved, and that none of us stands alone.
Certainly, while it would be difficult to bear this loss at any time, it is particularly difficult to do so at this time, when we cannot find solace in closeness with this community. This will be a spring without an Easter Egg hunt; a Memorial Day without a trip to the pool; a summer, perhaps, without Camp Arrowhead (although maybe not a Christmas without a Jello mold). But though we each have to grieve alone, I am remembered of how my grandmother used to blow me a kiss whenever we said goodbye, and that love, even without words, travels any distance.
The translation of today’s Gospel says that Christ finished his message by saying “Peace I leave with you,” but the verb used, aphiemi, more closely means “I cast forth” or “I let loose.” This supernatural tranquility, at odds with the natural disorder of the kosmos, the world, is sent out forcefully, actively, with love. It is not something left behind, but something continuously given. Even if she has departed this life, the joy and peace that my grandmother has left in the world will stay with us always.
My grandmother would never have wanted us to be sorrowful. In fact, there is something fitting about the fact that she passed away just before Holy Week; while we grieve now, on Sunday we will be called to rejoice and celebrate the miracle of the Resurrection. Even if she hated cooking for Easter, my grandmother loved nothing more than a party, and so I hope that all of you might have a shot of sambuca in her honor (or non-alcoholic alternative) alongside your Easter dinner.
Our gospel today is a reminder that a farewell is never a farewell, and that the promise of eternal life awaits us all. But it also reminds us of our role as custodians of the love we have experienced and the traditions we shared. Christ tells His apostles that “if you love me, keep my commands.” This word, tereo, means to “guard,” or “protect.” As those who know my grandmother, it is our duty to live our lives in a way which preserves her openness of heart and home, her generosity, her devotion to her family and friends, her love of her Irish heritage, and all the many things she taught us (especially that the best way to make something taste better is to add a lot of butter). And just as the Apostles spread Christ’s message of love across the world, we are called to improve others’ lives as Bernadette did ours.
Grief itself is, in its own way, a solace; we do not grieve things that made us sad, and nobody will be grieved more than my grandmother, who will never be recalled without fondness. But the air is warming, flowers are blooming, and someday soon the happy memories that now wound us will become a comfort, when we can all be together again once more.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Bernadette Theresa Woods (Lawlor), please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.
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Service Details

  • Service

    Tuesday, April 7th, 2020 | 4:30pm
    Via Live Stream
    Unknown, unknown
    Tuesday, April 7th, 2020
    A celebration of Bernadette's life will be held via live stream on Tuesday, April, 7, at 4:30PM Click here for live service


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O'Connor and McCreedy families, With deepest sympathies Mike, Marylu and Michael K, and other have sent flowers to the family of Bernadette Theresa Woods (Lawlor).
Hand delivered by a local florist
O'Connor and McCreedy families, With deepest sympathies Mike, Marylu and Michael K, and other have sent flowers to the family of Bernadette Theresa Woods (Lawlor).
Hand delivered by a local florist

Paul Cummins

Dear Barry and Family,
We are so sorry for your loss. May you be comforted by your memories of her.

Sloane Cummins, Stacia Casillo, and Paul Cummins
Comment | Posted at 02:33pm via Condolence

Damiana Clubb

I will always have the fondest memories of you Bernadette. You were one in a million. May Jesus heal the broken hearts of all who knew you. Thank you for giving us such an incredible family. Your amazing spirit will live on in all of them. Love you Bern.
Comment | Posted at 09:50am via Condolence

Stephen Woods

Our Deepest condolences to Uncle Barry, Kelly, Colleen, Matt,and Courtney and their families. Aunt Bern was a beautiful soul that was full of love and will be dearly missed by all she touched.
All of our love,
Stephen , Jillian, and Noelle Woods
Comment | Posted at 09:13am via Condolence

John Purfield

Heartfelt condolences to the Woods family. So very sorry for your loss. John & Mary Purfield
Comment | Posted at 06:29pm via Condolence

William Woods

Uncle Barry, Kelly, Colleen, Matt and Courtney. My deepest condolences on the passing of Aunt Bern. She had such a wonderful, joyous soul and love for life and always brightened up the room. I will miss her dearly and look forward to the time when we can truly celebrate her life. Love to you all. Cousin Billy.
Comment | Posted at 04:52pm via Condolence

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