It was a tale of two women on the evening of Wednesday, Feb. 28, as Granville resident, artist, woman’s rights advocate, and museum friend Joanne Woodyard was celebrated as the 2017 The Victoria Woodhull Woman of Achievement recipient.
More than 150 friends from far and wide gathered to honor Joanne. The awards began with Amy Butler, 2011; Leslie Green Bowman, 2012; Jill Griesse, 2013; Sarah Wallace, 2016.
“Victoria knew that she was born for a greater calling,” Joanne said as she recounted the rise of Woodhull’s from poverty to notoriety, “My story is very different and very simple,” she continued.
“I have never addressed the U.S. Congress. I have never operated a brokerage firm on Wall Street. I have never run for president of the United States.”
Joanne reminisced that she was nurtured in a family who surrounded her with enduring love every day. Her mother, Joanne said, was the youngest woman in Dayton to solo a plane at 16 years of age, to raise five children and always delight in everything they did.
Despite this cocoon of love and support, there were many highs and lows in her childhood, she said. “One of my sisters was bi polar, another died suddenly at age three, a brother was lost at birth and another was born with cerebral palsy. “Johnny was one of my life’s greatest gifts,” she said of her brother. “He never spoke nor heard a word in his 44 years, but he knew that he could communicate to all of us with his eyes.”
After graduating from Denison University, Joanne taught school in different states around the country. She and her husband David Woodyard returned in 1960 and have lived her since. She has been president of the Granville Garden Club. “I know that they went down the alphabet and had gotten to W before anyone accepted the job,” she laughed. “I learned the difference between a daffodil and a tulip and I forged ahead!”
“In those important years, I not only learned about flowers but also about self esteem and how to give it to others,” she said. “Working with women was so rewarding. I watched women discover their own worth and self esteem and nature became my friend through our earth, our gardens, and our flowers.”
Joanne has had leadership roles in the National Herb Society and the Garden Club of America. She also paints and is known for her attention to detail in paintings and her botanical depictions of flowers and herbs in greeting cards.
Throughout her talk, Joanne drew her audience in with stories and reflections on her life. “When women listen or are challenged, they do great things in their lives. They nurture, encourage, teach, laugh and cry. I am thankful that in a short 84 and a half years, I have had the opportunities that have come my way,” she said.
“Maybe, just maybe, you too will empower someone somewhere.”