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1931 Woodrow F. (Woody) Birckhead 2023

Woodrow F. (Woody) Birckhead

June 17, 1931 — November 7, 2023



Woodrow F. (Woody) Birckhead


Woody Birckhead passed away at 92 years old, wrapping up what he called a “good life” and having “done everything I wanted to do.” His legacy as “Pop” includes daughter Kim Bowden and her husband, George; daughter Cheryl Thim; and son Chip Birckhead and his wife, Kelly. He was proud of his six grandchildren – Austin Thim, Brooke Birckhead, Chloe Birckhead, David Bowden, Emily Bowden and Kendyl Holt – and his soon-to-be three great-grandchildren.

He met his wife of 60+ years, Mary, when he was working in his hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, and she was a nursing student at the University of Virginia. He loved telling the story of picking up groups of coeds in his blue Pontiac convertible until the day he met Mary. He handed the keys to a friend and sat with her in the backseat for the rest of the evening.

Woody was a Marine veteran, serving during the Korean War in 1950-51. He landed at Incheon with the 7th Regiment, 1st Marine Division and participated in the liberation of Seoul. He was a proud member of the Marines’ legendary Chosin Few, an honor he earned at 19 years old, fighting in North Korea’s Chosin Reservoir. He was one of 20,000 Marines, U.S. soldiers and sailors, and British Royal Marines who fought in sub-zero temperatures against an estimated 180,000 Chinese. The 13-day battle ended with the successful evacuation of nearly 100,000 North Korean men, women and children from Hungnam.

He was born and grew up near Charlottesville. He lived most of his adult life near Baltimore, Maryland, and in Fort Myers, Florida. He moved to Granbury, Texas in 2022.

Following his service in the Marines, Woody returned to Charlottesville’s Lane High School for his senior year. He later earned a bachelor’s degree from Loyola University while working full-time and being a dad to his and Mary’s family in Randallstown, Maryland.

Woody was a pioneer in computer programming, beginning in the 1960s. He wrote billing and payroll systems for the City of Danville Virginia, and later worked as an assembly language programmer for the Social Security Administration, where he retired.

He volunteered with the National Park Service, contributing his carpentry skills on projects at Fort McHenry and the Hampton Mansion in Baltimore, as well as to Habitat for Humanity. Woody also was a notorious whistler, and even those who didn’t know his name immediately recognized him when asked if they knew “The Whistler.”

Woody joined his wife, Mary; brothers Hunter and Lee; sisters, Virginia and Evelyn; and his parents, Edward and Rosa; in what his children predicted to be a heavenly toast with his favorite bourbon. He is survived by a sister, Shirley, and a brother, John.

Friends and family members celebrated his life at Waterview the Point, where he lived in Granbury, and with a special toast at D’Vine Wine, which he called “my favorite place” in Texas. His ashes will be interred with Mary’s at Holy Comforter Episcopal Church in Lutherville, Maryland, and with military honors at the DFW National Cemetery. In place of flowers, Woody’s family encourages contributions to recognized veterans’ organizations.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Woodrow F. (Woody) Birckhead, please visit our flower store.


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