Local school, business leader, Nancy Woodyard, remembered

Staff Writer
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

Nancy Woodyard considered herself a lifelong Pawhuska resident, since her heart remained here even during the years she had been living elsewhere.

Funeral services for Mrs. Woodyard were held Wednesday, Aug. 3, at the First Christian Church. The longtime local school, civic and business leader — who was the first woman superintendent of Pawhuska Public Schools — died Friday, July 29.

Nancy Randolph Grinstead was born Jan. 10, 1939, in the old Pawhuska Hospital (situatuated on the present-day site of the Pawhuska Public Library). Her parents, Randolph and Mildred Grinstead, lived across the street from the hospital. Later, the family (which also included Nancy’s older sister, Carol) moved one block west to its longtime home at 18th and Prudom Avenue.

A 1957 graduate of Pawhuska High School Class, Woodyard went on to earn a degree from Oklahoma State University in 1961. While at OSU, she was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. Woodyard received a master’s degree in education from Webster College in St. Louis, and it was there she began her teaching career at Henry Elementary School in the renowned Parkway School District.

In 1978, Woodyard followed her heart back home to Pawhuska and took a fourth-grade teaching job here. She later became the district’s elementary reading specialist. Eventually, she was appointed elementary school principal. After being named as the assistant to Superintendent Jim Wilson, Woodyard resumed her academic career and received a Doctorate in Education from OSU. When Wilson retired, Woodyard was selected to be superintendent of Pawhuska Public Schools. She retired as the local school superintendent in 2000.

In 1988, the high school carpentry class did not have a project to train the students in their vocation, so Nancy engaged the class to construct a classic farmhouse on property she owned just north of town. The resulting home was launched as a bed and breakfast with her sister Carol in June 1990. The Inn at Woodyard Farms operated as a bed and breakfast until 2012.

Nancy was not an idle person, and soon upon her retirement from Pawhuska Schools, she became the Executive Director of the Pawhuska Chamber of Commerce. Always thinking about her beloved hometown, she purchased Monger Brothers Auto Parts from Odell and Eileen Monger in 2003. She operated Monger Brothers until she sold the business in July 2016. Nancy was also a cattle rancher, raising longhorn cross stock, and was still engaged in that venture at the time of her death.

Nancy loved Pawhuska, and it was her mission in life to help Pawhuska thrive. Nancy served as a member, officer or board member for numerous, if not all, committees, boards, councils, societies, foundations and civic organizations in Pawhuska, including but not limited to the following: established the Pawhuska Public School Foundation; Philanthropic Educators Organization (PEO); Kiwanis, including being the first Female President; Pawhuska Hospital Board; Osage County Historical Museum Board; PHS Honor Banquet Committee; Retired Educator’s Association; Osage County Cattleman’s Association; Preserve Pawhuska; Main Street Pawhuska; Pawhuska Literacy Council; H.E.L.P. Workshop Board; Oklahoma Rural Schools Board of Directors: Osage County Reading Board; Funding Formula Task Force for the State of Oklahoma; Blacksmith Shop; served on the French Delegation to Pawhuska’s Sister City of Montauban, France, and was a member and served on the vestry of St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Pawhuska.

Nancy was preceded in death by her grandparents E. E. and Minnie Baker Grinstead. E. E. Grinstead was a local banker, establishing what later became known as Osage Federal Savings and Loan, and which currently exists as American Heritage Bank. E. E. was also longtime counsel to the Osage Indian Tribe and prominent lawyer. E. E. and Minnie were also church planters, being founding members of the First Christian Church in Pawhuska.

Nancy was also preceded in death by her parents, Randolph and Mildred Grinstead. Randolph was born and raised in Pawhuska, and served in the military during World War II. Randolph later received a Presidential Appointment by Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953 to serve as Postmaster in Pawhuska. Mrs. Grinstead was widely known by virtually every student that passed through Pawhuska Public Schools, serving for many years as the high school English teacher.

Nancy was also preceded in death by her son, Jay David Wagnon, and by her longtime friend, Dick Surber.

Nancy is survived by her sister, Carol Maupin of Pawhuska; her son Jeff and his wife Libby, of College Station, Texas, and her daughter in law, Jackie Wagnon of Sand Springs. Nancy also leaves two step-daughters, Chantal Woodyard and Michelle Flaherty and her husband Brian.

Nancy was blessed to have many grandchildren and great grandchildren, including: Kate Tackett, with husband Caleb and their son, Tuff; Buffy Baker, with husband Blake and their son, Benji; Gigi Wagnon; Margeaux Krszjzaniek, with husband Ryan; Cody Wagnon, with wife Brittany and their daughter, Austin Fern; Chloe Woodyard, with daughter Annabelle, and Claire Parks.

The Aug. 3 service was conducted by McCartney’s Johnson Funeral Home.

Mrs. Woodyard’s family had asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to: Pawhuska Public School Foundation, 1801 McKenzie, Pawhuska, OK 74056.