Obituary of Michael Joseph Woodend
Michael Joseph Woodend, known to many as Coach, went home to be with the Lord on January 19, 2024, after battling Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia.
Michael was born in Washington, D.C. He attended Bob Jones Academy and graduated from Cedarville University in Ohio with a degree in physical education. Shortly after graduation, he began his illustrious teaching career at Groveton Elementary and coached at Thomas Jefferson High School in Virginia.
While in Virginia, he met his beautiful wife, Mary Alice, at a party. He wooed her with beer and cheesecake at The Warf Restaurant in Old Town Alexandria while drawing basketball plays on cocktail napkins. Afterward, he invited her to see his kittens at his apartment, and she went. There were indeed kittens!
They married at the church of St. Stephen Martyr, which was across the street from the hospital where he was born. They began their lives at 3 Forest Street in Alexandria, VA, with their border collie Stokley and their cats Sir Graves Gastley and Salem. Eventually, they called Old Town and Springfield, VA, home. During the summers, Coach and Mary Alice ran a fruit and vegetable stand called Mr. Woody’s. They were known for fresh produce and beautiful potted plants. They also had a Christmas Tree stand during the holidays.
In addition to being a teacher, Coach had a long career as a broker/recruiter/trainer in the real estate industry, which afforded them the opportunity to move around. Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Michigan, and back to Florida. For 28 years, he worked for House and Home, Century 21, Red Carpet, and Weichert Realty.
Sports were always an essential part of his life. Michael grew up playing soccer, baseball, and basketball. He was all-conference for soccer while in college. When he moved to Washington, D.C., he started playing softball and continued to play in church leagues throughout his life. He also coached many of his children’s soccer teams. He began teaching his kids the basics of the game by watching as many professional games as possible as a family.
Florida is where they called home the longest. Palm City, Satellite Beach, and then began a wonderful life in Kissimmee, FL, where he returned to teaching at Horizon Middle School. His wife, Mary Alice, also taught at the same middle school. Coach was the Athletic Director as well as the head of physical education. He built Horizon’s athletic program to a level where they were highly competitive and well respected within the county. He was well known for running the concession stand and was always behind a grill, flipping burgers whenever there was a school function. On game days, Coach ensured that each player on his basketball team was dressed in a shirt and tie and had a special breakfast meeting with them. This is who he was.
Coach was also a mentor to so many over the years. Whether it was new real estate agents, established real estate agents, or teachers at the beginning of their careers, he always made sure you felt supported and important, expecting great things from everyone he met. You wanted to meet, if not exceed, the expectations he set forth.
A little-known fact about Coach is that he had a beautiful singing voice. He won talent competitions in elementary school. As an adult, he sang in the church choir and in a touring group called the Cornerstone Quartet. He loved to sing in church with his entire family, who were lovingly referred to as The Woodend Family Singers.
Coach was a spiritual man who believed there was good in everyone. He was quick with a smile and had a booming laugh. He also had an epic whistle that he used on the soccer field, in PE class, and in a grocery store if we all got separated to signify when it was time for his kids to come home from playing outside. This meant you had to make sure that whatever you were doing, you were close enough to hear that whistle.
Coach is survived by his loving wife of 53 years, Mary Alice; his four children, Matthew (wife Paula), Meredith, Morgan (wife Hope), and McManus (wife Kelli); and his five grandchildren: Haley, Tyler, Ian, Elle, and Rohmer.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at a later date.