Tag Archives: Walt Woodward

The Ballad of Walt Woodward

In my story about Woodward Middle School’s celebration of their namesake, I mentioned that an 8th-grade student Ben Cowen had written a ballad about Walt Woodward.

I didn’t have room in the story to print the full lyrics, but I do here. Click down below.

By the way, Ben got a little research assistance from “Snow Falling on Cedars” author David Guterson, who also happens to be his next-door neighbor. Guterson’s novel has a key character that’s based on Walt Woodward.

“He brought over a book,” Ben said. “But what was funny was that I had already written most of the ballad. I had done plenty of research.”

The 14-year-old recently recorded the ballad and gave a CD copy to Mary Woodwood, one of Walt Woodward’s daughters. Ben plays violin on the track and enlisted a family friend to sing his lyrics.

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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.