Surrounded by her close and loving family, Elizabeth Virginia Gans Woods, known to friends and family as Evie, died on June 25, 2020, at the age of 83. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, she and her husband, David, moved to Longmeadow, Massachusetts, in 1964 with the first two of their four children, David O’Brien Woods and Sarah Woods Bates. Margaret Woods Heffernan and Jennifer Woods Henderson were born shortly after that. Evie always said all she ever wanted to be was a Mom and her proudest accomplishment was her family. During her battle with cancer and with the help of video technology, she was able to stay in close touch each week with her children, their spouses and her eight grandchildren. Evie graduated from Garrison Forest School in Baltimore and spent two years as an aide at the Institute for Living in Hartford, Connecticut. She and David were married in Baltimore in 1958. After they moved to Longmeadow she received her Associates Degree in Accounting from Holyoke Community College, a skill she later applied for many years as the Bookkeeper for First Church of Christ in Longmeadow. She later learned American Sign Language and worked for many more years as a teacher’s aide at Willie Ross School for the Deaf. One family friend and former Trustee of the school often commented how surprised and impressed he was when on a tour of the school one day he saw Evie actually on the floor playing with the kids. She and David always considered themselves extremely fortunate to have been able to travel to all 50 states and around the world, including one very recent trip to southern Africa just before her illness began to appear. Almost 50 years ago they purchased a beautiful home on the eastern shore of Kezar Lake in Center Lovell, Maine, looking across into the White Mountain National Forest and parts of the Presidential Range. It has become the family homestead and she was able to make a farewell trip to it in early June with the family. A former All Maryland field hockey player, she loved skiing, playing tennis and later golf where she often topped the list of low scorers. Evie was widely known as the accomplished watercolorist Elizabeth Woods. Her works appeared in numerous art shows and exhibitions. Many of her best paintings grace the home and office walls of children, grandchildren, friends and strangers in different parts of the country. Although she never intended her art to be a commercial enterprise, people often asked if they could buy a painting they liked. She usually accommodated them at a below market price or simply gave it to them as a gift. Always the volunteer she served on several different boards, but her real joy was hands-on service. She served for many years as an Emergency Department volunteer at Baystate Medical Center, including as late as January of 2020. For a number of years she served as a Cuddler in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Baystate. She could often be found helping out with this or that volunteer project. And she would always try to do business with the struggling new entrepreneur to help him or her get started. Evie’s life was rooted in concern for and service to others, first and foremost her family, but beyond that to anyone who she felt needed the kind of help she could provide. She was an unassuming person who shunned the spotlight. She had many long and firm friendships and will be missed by all who knew her, but most of all by David and her family, all of whom have been profoundly influenced by her strength of character and capacity for genuine love for all. A funeral Mass at St. Mary’s Church, 519 Longmeadow Street in Longmeadow, will be held at 2:00 PM on Wednesday, July 8. A COVID 19 compliant gathering for friends and family will follow at Longmeadow Country Club, 400 Shaker Road. Interment will be private. Forastiere Smith Funeral Home, 220 N Main St, East Longmeadow, has been entrusted with her arrangements. Memorial contributions may be made to Willie Ross School for the Deaf, 32 Norway Street, Longmeadow, MA 01106.
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