By LeAnn Campbell
There’s an attractive dark-haired funeral director in Joplin who rides a Harley Davidson Foxtail in her spare time. The lady is Kim Woodard, fairly new to motorcycle riding and loving it.
Kim never planned to ride a motorcycle. Two years ago she bought one as a Christmas surprise for her husband, Bruce. After he started riding, Kim got on and rode with him. Then one day Bruce said, “I think you’ll really like riding a motorcycle yourself.”
Although not sure she’d like it, Kim bought a small one. She took the Rider’s Education class offered by the Harley Davidson dealership in Joplin. She found out riding was easier than she expected. From then on, she was hooked on cycling.
Now, with Kim on her Foxtail and Bruce on his Road King, they ride for pleasure.
This summer (July 2008), the Woodards and two other couples trailered four cycles (hauled cycles on trailers) to California. They rode the motorcycles from the southern tip of California to the northern tip and back, seeing beautiful country that they might have missed in a car.
For Kim and Bruce, a ride works out well any week when they can only get away for an hour. Kim says, “It takes the worries away.”
Just as she never planned to ride a motorcycle, Kim didn’t expect to be a funeral director.
“I was going to be a nurse—I was going to be a nurse first and then become a doctor.” But six months before she would have completed Missouri Southern’s nursing program, she married her high school sweetheart, Bruce Woodard.
Bruce’s family owned Mason Woodard Mortuary, and he had intended to work with them. When he went to Dallas for his schooling, Kim dropped out of the nursing program to go with him.
After the couple returned to Joplin, Kim worked in the electronics department at Montgomery Ward for fifteen years. She didn’t join the family business until 1994. Then, in 1998, she passed the exam and became a funeral director.
Bruce and Kim, with their business partner Randy Wilson, bought the mortuary from Bruce’s parents in 2004. Now the Woodard’s son Austin works for them as a funeral director, as does Kim’s sister Pam Houk. The sisters started working there at the same time and have a great relationship.
Kim laughs about what she calls the balancing act of working with so many family members. “You know, families have to love each other.” They’ve met the challenge and found the balance between work and home.
As funeral directors, their work is very detail-oriented. Each funeral requires over 100 man-hours. They feel pain with families who lose loved ones and work hard to help them cope.
Pam is a certified grief specialist, and she and Kim hold four seminars a year, over seven-to-eight week periods, to guide people through the recovery process. In their after-care program, they do in-home visits and offer support in many ways.
Kim and Pam put together a special Christmas tree program and hold it a week after Thanksgiving. Anyone in the community is welcome, whether they have used Mason Woodard Mortuary or not. Every attending family receives an ornament in memory of their loved one and goes forward to hang it on the tree. Each family also gets an ornament to take home for their tree.
“We hope these things will help,” Kim says. “We don’t guarantee recovery.” But families can take the tools, especially written material, and read it at home. It isn’t unusual for a person to offer to assist with future grief recovery classes. They’ll come back and say, “It’s helped me so much. Can I come and help?”
Kim likes her hobby and her work, but she has other interests, too. She loves young people and has been involved in sports with her own three children, coaching girls’ softball, Little League baseball, and attending countless games.
As a member of the Soroptimist service organization, she helps with a camp for underprivileged children. “I go and help on what they call Buddy Night with special games and activities,” notes Kim.
Active in Mt. Hope Church of Christ, Kim directed Vacation Bible School last year. Her daughter suggested they do that together. “Then she (daughter) moves away and Mom gets the job. But that was okay. We had quite a time,” she says.
Kim Woodard, who never planned to ride a motorcycle or be a funeral director, has no regrets now about either. “I don’t see myself doing anything else.”
By LeAnn Campbell
Larry Meacham Sr.
Larry B. Meacham, Sr., age 79, Joplin, passed away at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, Aug.11, 2012, at Freeman West Hospital.
<img src="http://www.joplinglobeonline.com/images/zope/extra.gif" border=0> Eyes on the Audience <font color="#ff0000">w/ John DeHoyos performance videos and audio interview</font>
About a dozen hearty souls, including myself, braved the elements one recent wintery afternoon to listen to the musical stylings of a 28-year-old Southern California native named John DeHoyos.
- “E” is for Energy, Education: New High School Includes Features to Lower Electric Bills For those of us who walk around every night turning off lights and unplugging appliances to reduce our electric bill and keep our carbon footprint low, the opportunity to start from scratch and install energy-saving technology during the construction process would be invaluable.
- Over the River, Through the Woods “How can the long distance runner ever get lonely?” asks Snoopy in a 1978 Charles Schultz comic strip. In context, Snoopy poses the question following an ongoing series of complaints from his aching limbs; but the question is valid in reality as well.
Home Town Inspired: Young Entrepreneurs Invest Time and Energy
From the courthouse to the beautiful Victorian homes, Carthage is a unique and lovely town, full of surprises and its own quiet charm. It’s a town that not only supports local entrepreneurs but also encourages them, as evidenced by the many flourishing locally-owned enterprises.
- MGA Boasts Dedicated Director Thirty-one years establishes an event as generational. And for 30 of those years, the Midwest Gathering of the Artists has been growing its roots ever deeper with the culturing oversight of Sandra “Sandy” Higgins.
- British Invasion: Annual Car Show Gets Bigger Every Year Although the songs of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Kinks were blaring through the sound system, Carthage’s recent British invasion wasn’t about the music. . . . It was about the cars.
Light, Color, Composition
She calls herself an “impatient realist.” When you see her art, you recognize immediately the realist part. But “impatient” …?
Welcome Babies: McCune Brooks Brings Forth Spradling Birthing Center
“Women will be pampered unmercifully,” said Pam Barlet, director of community relations and program development at McCune Brooks Regional Hospital in Carthage. “The new Spradling Birthing Center is opening on September 2. We are so excited to be welcoming babies back to this hospital.”
Cards, Yards, and Bards: Duo Decorates Lawns for Special Occasions
Congratulations in 3-D. Happy Birthday in moos, baas, or vrooms. Be My Valentine in multiple hearts.
- More PROFiLES Headlines
- Larry Meacham Sr.