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Dr. Catherine Ann Cummings Wooddy passed away after a brief serious illness on November 16, 2023, having recently returned from a long trip to her beloved family homeland in the highlands of Scotland. A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, December 2, at Northminster Presbyterian Church, 565 Wimbish Road, Macon, GA. The family will receive visitors immediately after the service. A graveside service will be held that afternoon at 2:30PM at Dublin Memorial Gardens, Dublin, GA.
Catherine lived a life of service as a public school educator for 38 years, an engaged community member with leadership roles in organizations in Dublin and Macon, Georgia, and years of volunteer work. She was a lifelong learner, earning multiple advanced degrees, mastering five languages, and nurturing her curiosity through travel and reading. She was a musician, singing in church and civic choirs, and music directing dozens of high school musicals. Catherine loved and patronized the arts more broadly, enjoying live music and theatre performances, visits to museums, galleries and historic sites.
She shared these loves with her extended family, and enjoyed traveling with them. Catherine made an effort to know her brother and sister and their families, encouraging her nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews in their education, cheering on their athletic pursuits, and delighting in their artistic endeavors. She also diligently worked to keep the small American branch of the Buchanan and Cummings clans connected to the larger family back in Scotland.
Catherine was born on July 21, 1941, in Lawrence, Massachusetts, to Jim and Grace Cummings. She and her siblings grew up in North Andover in a little house on a big pond. She was raised with a deep sense of her family heritage and she danced the Highland Fling with her father’s bagpipe band. She excelled at school and enjoyed sports, and was the goalie for the North Andover High School girls field hockey team. She spent her freshman year at Boston University before following her family south, transferring to the Women’s College of Georgia (now Georgia College and State University).
In the summer of 1962, Catherine was one of 21 American university students chosen for a YWCA partnership with the U.S. Department of State for diplomatic travel to Russia in the midst of the Cold War. For two months she and the other students studied Russian language and culture to inform their social interactions. While there the group was accused of spreading propaganda and they were briefly detained. Once the situation was resolved, they were debriefed at the U.S. Embassy in Prague. This unique experience did not dampen Catherine’s lifelong passion for international travel and languages, leading her to travel extensively and to learn German, French, Latin and Slovakian.
After she earned a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry in 1963, she pursued a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. During graduate school she worked as the Director of Teen Programming for the YWCA in Durham.
Catherine joined her family in Dublin, Georgia, in 1967. Her 32-year career with Dublin City Schools began with teaching Science at Dublin High School. This is where she met her husband, R. Lynn Wooddy, who was a Math Teacher and longtime Theatre Director. Catherine’s love of music and accomplishments as a pianist and organist were put to use as she was Music Director for dozens of musicals with Wooddy. They delighted in mentoring decades of young thespians who performed in their shows, often earning state, regional and national awards.
The Wooddys’ theatre collaborations continued even after Catherine moved on to become Principal of Moore Street Elementary School, then Director of Curriculum for the Dublin City Schools where she was recognized by the Georgia Association of Education Leaders (GAEL) for her excellent work. In Dublin, Catherine was a member and elder at Henry Memorial Presbyterian Church and she was involved with many civic organizations including the Dublin Rotary Club and Women’s Study Club.
On December 6, 1986, a German exchange student, Marc Bösader, came to live with Catherine and Wooddy. He fit in like a perfect puzzle piece and quickly became like the son Catherine and Wooddy never had, and he has remained part of the family ever since.
Catherine and Wooddy had been married for 25 years when Wooddy, 82 at the time, passed away unexpectedly. Thus began the next chapter of her life.
She never stopped being a student, earning a Masters in Education, Education Specialist, and Doctorate of Education Administration from Georgia Southern University over the years. After retiring from Dublin City Schools, she taught graduate students at Georgia Southern University’s School of Education and served as Director of Georgia Southern’s Dublin Campus.
Then in 2005 she retired again and moved to Macon with her late mother. Catherine joined her sister and brother-in-law at Northminster Presbyterian Church, where she was a member of the chancel and handbell choirs. She found other new opportunities to be in community around music, being invited to join the Macon Morning Music Club in 2006, and earning a spot in the Choral Society of Middle Georgia. She also sought new opportunities to serve, volunteering for Macon Arts Alliance and the Macon Volunteer Clinic, where she was recognized in 2022 as a Healthcare Hero.
Catherine is predeceased by her parents, Jim & Grace Cummings, and husband, R. Lynn Wooddy. She will be remembered as the adored older sister of Ritchie (Martha) Cummings of Holliston, MA, and Judy (Roland) Hill of Macon, GA; the beloved aunt of Jay (Kristen) Cummings of Grafton, MA, Cate Hill of Chicago, IL, Carolyn (Hernando) Romero of Belmont, MA, Jimmy (Marnie) Hill of Macon, GA, Chris (Alicia) Cummings of Gorham, ME, Cate (Greg) Gammons of Sudbury, MA; great aunt of Maddie Cummings, Henry Cummings, Eden Hill, Calvin Cummings, Grace Cummings, Rachel Cummings, Nolan Gammons, Saylor Hill, Rita Cummings, Martha Cummings, PJ Gammons, Owen Cummings, Audrey Gammons, Kailen Romero, and Christopher Romero; a chosen mother to Marc (Tina Bösader) of Weidenhahn, Germany; chosen grandmother to Laura Weißhoff; cherished cousin of Ian Sutherland of Evanton, Scotland, and Morag MacDonald of Edinburgh, Scotland; and cherished relative and friend to countless others.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Northminster Presbyterian Church, 565 Wimbish Road, Macon, GA (northminstermacon.org).
Please visit www.hartsmort.com to express condolences.
Hart’s at the Cupola, Hart's Mortuary and Cremation Center, 6324 Peake Rd, Macon, GA 31210 has charge of the arrangements.