There’s plenty more to the Woodwards than their stance on the internment

Just about every Bainbridge Islander is familiar with the historic stand Bainbridge Island Review publishers Walt and Millie Woodward took against the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

But Mary Woodward, who spoke on Monday at Woodward Middle School’s 100th birthday celebration for Walt Woodward, wants people to know there was much more to her parents.

Millie, for instance, successfully campaigned in the 1940s to get all the island’s abandoned wells capped, thereby improving water quality for hundreds of residents.

“That didn’t have a lot of flash and dash, but it did save a lot of kids’ lives,” Mary said.

Millie was also a teacher in Bainbridge schools, took part in the formation of the Kitsap Regional Library system and in what eventually became the One Call for All, which combined individual funding appeals from local nonprofits into one annual mail drive.

Walt, who died in 2001 and would have been 100 on Thursday, served a stint as chair of the state Pollution Control Hearings Board and was appointed the state’s first hearing examiner for the Shorelines Hearing Board. He was also the city of Winslow’s first land-use hearings examiner.

Walt was a founder of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, taught boating safety, served on the Seattle Times editorial board and managed the campaign of Republican Catherine May, the first woman elected to represent Washington in Congress.

But most importantly for Mary, the Walt and Millie were caring partners and parents.

“They did have a good marriage because they shared a lot with each other,” Mary told Woodward students. “And they were good parents. They made a good life for their daughters.”

You can read a whole lot more about what Mary thought of her parents in her photo-rich book “In Defense of Our Neighbors.” It’s at Eagle Harbor Books and the Bainbridge Public Library.

Click here to read my story about Woodward Middle School’s celebration. The story includes a photo gallery shot by Meegan Reid.

One thought on “There’s plenty more to the Woodwards than their stance on the internment

  1. Mary Woodward — the truth is the fruit does not fall far from the tree. Your attempts to justify/embellish the sins of FDR and the status of your parents is so predictable.

    I heard reports from some of the students who heard Frank Kitamoto channel his infant memories of relocation as lies. Even 8th graders who have been subject to BISD pc indoctrination for years and can smell out a rat.

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