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Warren Woodruff


Dependent is a word that we all often use without thorough consideration of its full meaning. Warren Woodruff’s dependents have gained an enlightened understanding of the term.

Warren was a loving husband, father, and grandfather. He approached his life with an unwavering positive attitude and with perseverance. He was able to instill complete confidence in those who depended upon him because he always had “a plan” to overcome any challenge.

Warren was born on May 4, 1929, in Chicago, Illinois. His childhood stories were enchanting. He told us of John Dillinger buying him and his best friend candy at the corner candy store. His best friend then was Buzz Aldrin. Additional stories included riding the Chicago City bus all day on Saturdays for 2 cents (at six years old), going to movies with his half-brother Harmon for a penny, and a bout and quarantine with Scarlet Fever. At four years old his mother, Francis Woodruff, divorced her husband, Warren’s father. At six years old, Warren was moved to Nutley, New Jersey to be raised by his Aunt Elenor (Francis’s sister), and Uncle Clifford.

Warren excelled in grade school and earned a scholarship to attend The Peddie School, a private college preparatory school in Hightstown, New Jersey. After graduating from Peddie, Warren attended Colgate University where he excelled in his classes and lettered in Varsity Lacrosse. To supplement his college scholarship, he delivered newspapers to his college classmates, picked up and delivered laundry from the fraternities at night, and worked in the dining hall serving the training tables. Therein emerged another famous acquaintance, Ernie

Vandeweghe, the football All-American from Colgate’s National Championship season. As was the case with Warren, his stories were also larger than life.

Warren applied to and was accepted into Yale as a graduate student, but situations had changed and instead of furthering his education, he began work for the Shell Oil Company, married his wife, Winnifred Nelson, and began a family. He was a salesman, for Shell and in life. He often said, “I can’t spell, but I can sell”. The moral being (and there was always a moral) to focus on the important aspects of any task. Those that knew him also knew from him that “the harder you work, the luckier you get”. He never once gambled, but always said, “if you’re going to bet, bet on yourself” because that is the only bet where you can honestly control the outcome.

Warren always emphasized the importance of education and college graduation because both had served him so well. Warren’s mother and 5 Aunts all graduated college. Notably, his aunt Ruth became the first Dean of Women at the University of New Hampshire. His mother and her twin sister, Florence, both graduated from Syracuse University in the 1920’s.

After additional jobs in the Oil Industry, Warren joined Warren Frank to lead Centro until his retirement. Warren (Woodruff) was the Vice President and first General Manager of the public transportation company. He oversaw and lead over 400 employees at Centro. He was generally loved and respected, receiving awards from the Syracuse Chamber of Commerce and the Syracuse NAACP among others. He worked diligently throughout his career to help and further the advancement of minorities.

Warren loved his wife of over fifty years, Win. The New Jersey duo were true fighters. They refused to be beaten by any adversity and more than once uttered “We’re from New Jersey, we’re survivors” to any doubters in the crowd. For a period, they moved nearly yearly until settling in Skaneateles, a village they absolutely loved not for the lake or the scenery, but for the friends and families it brought forth.

After retiring from Centro, Warren enjoyed golfing and dining with Win at the Skaneateles Country Club and numerous other “haunts” in the region. Warren loved his weekly lunches with his friends that they referred to as “ROMEO’ (retired old men eating out). Warren had a booming voice as his children and grandchildren can attest to while they pursued their own athletic endeavors. Warren rarely missed a child’s or grandchild’s game, no matter what the sport. He and Win drove to every one of his Son’s New England football games and loved watching his granddaughters and grandson’s wonderful athletic careers unfold.

Warren is survived by his son, David and his wife Marsie, his grandchildren Taylor, Catie, and JT and his favorite black Labrador, Lucy. All of Skaneateles.

Services are private with burial in Lake View Cemetery.

1 comment

1 Comment

Jul 03

A gentleman and one of a kind who gladly shared his life’s knowledge and experience to others. Condolences

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