Leelan Alvin Woodlief, 87, of Youngsville, was born Sept. 6, 1926, and entered heaven March 1, 2014. He was born in Franklin County, the son of late Addie Finch Woodlief and Benjamin Franklin Woodlief. On Oct. 21, 1950, he married the love of his life, Ellen Watkins Woodlief.
Leelan graduated from Youngsville High School in 1943; Louisburg College in 1948, where he played baseball and basketball, and from North Carolina State University in 1950, where he was a member of the Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity and lettered in baseball and basketball. Leelan and his soon-to-be wife, Ellen, attended the first basketball game in William Neal Reynolds Coliseum on Dec. 2, 1949. He served in the U.S. Navy onboard the USS Adirondack from 1944-46.
Leelan made contributions to his community in countless ways. As manager of Woodlief Supply Company and owner of Woodlief Fertilizer and Insurance, his advice and assistance were sought by many since 1950. At his church he served as Deacon, and Sunday school teacher and superintendent. He was an active member of the Youngsville Lions Club and its fundraisers and in the town of Youngsville and Franklin County, he was elected commissioner and served as a founding member of the Economic Development Council. Leelan served Youngsville High School as a member of the Board of Education appointed by the Franklin County School superintendent. In 1968 he was instrumental in starting the first Youngsville High School Boosters Club.
Along the way, Leelan also coached Little League baseball, utilizing his own college experiences in baseball. He was a member of the Youngsville Volunteer Fire Department and served as its chief until required to retire. Leelan served on the board of directors of the Wake Forest Federal Savings and Loan until his retirement in 2013. He never spoke of his community involvement as ‘volunteering’, but was always humbled by his opportunities to serve. In 1982, Governor Jim Hunt honored his contributions by conferring upon him The Order of the Long Leaf Pine.
Leelan always felt blessed by the riches of his family’s love, his community’s spirit, and his faith in God’s love. He believed he was fortunate to live this life in the finest spot on earth.
Funeral services were held March 5, 2014, at Youngsville Baptist Church with the Rev. Charles Stratton officiating. Burial was in Youngsville Cemetery with military honors.
In addition to his wife, Ellen, Leelan is survived by his daughter, Connie Ellen Woodlief Moreadith; sons, Leelan Mark Woodlief and wife, Kim; and Larry Joseph Woodlief and wife, Lucia; grandchildren, Kathryn and Andrew Moreadith, Chris and Kayla Tidwell, and Sarah Livengood Roy; sister, Rachel Cox; brothers, Wilbur Woodlief and wife, Jean, and J. Curtis Woodlief and wife, Helen; sister-in-law, Doris Woodlief; 16 nieces and nephews, with each of whom he had a special bond. He was preceded in death by his brother, Stancil Woodlief, and his brother-in-law, Ralph Cox.
Memorial donations may be made to the Youngsville Baptist Church Window Preservation Fund or in memoriam to Chief Leelan Woodlief at the Youngsville Volunteer Fire Department. Online condolences may be made at brightfunerals.com.
James B. Wright, 91
James B. Wright, 91, of Wake Forest, died Sunday, March 2, 2014. He was born in Paterson, N.J. Dec. 3, 1922, the son of Harry Wright and Mary (Hennessey) Wright. He was predeceased in 2001 by his beloved wife, Bette (Redmond) Wright.
James lived most of his life in Bergen County, N.J. before moving to Wake Forest in 2006. During his career, he held several positions in municipal government. He was loved by all who knew him for his warm smile and generosity of spirit. He resided most recently at The Lodge at Wake Forest.
Mr. Wright is survived by his sons, Kevin Wright, of Wake Forest; James “J.B.” Wright. of Herndon, Va., and Jeffery Wright, of Paterson, N.J. He leaves his sisters, Regina Thomson, of Fripp Island, S.C., and Ruth Pasquariello, of Wayne, N.J.; stepdaughters, Terri Beth Garrison, of Jericho, Vt., Chris Hillman, of Bayville, N.J., and Susan Goetz, of Sharon, Mass.; along with many beloved grandchildren, step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
A funeral mass celebrating Mr. Wright’s life will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, March 8, 2014, at Saint Catherine of Siena Catholic Church in Wake Forest.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Mr. Wright’s memory can be made to the Rex Healthcare Foundation in Raleigh, N.C.
Online condolences may be made at brightfunerals.com
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