Ellen Woodward

Ellen Woodward

1946 - 2014

Share Your Memory of

Obituary of Ellen Woodward

Dr. Ellen Woodward Shirley Ellen Woodward, 68, of 333 Bay Avenue, Huntington Bay, NY, died peacefully at home on January 25, following a courageous battle with cancer. Ellen will be remembered for her visionary and skilled work on behalf of children with autism and developmental disabilities and their families. In her leadership positions at the Developmental Disabilities Institute in Huntington, NY and more recently at the Cody Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities at Stony Brook University, she was a pioneer and advocate for the early diagnosis and treatment of developmental disabilities, and an innovator in demonstrating how scientific findings and new techniques could be incorporated into university curricula and service programs. Her legacy includes her participation in writing the autism diagnosis and treatment guidelines for the state of New York, and her role in building and launching the Applied Behavioral Analysis Certification program at Stony Brook. Her particular gift was to see the whole range of needs of families affected by autism and to strategically develop and implement programs and services to address those needs. In every aspect of her life, Ellen was an imaginative, intelligent, and modest force for good. She loved to travel, by bicycle around Long Island, and by planes, trains and automobile in most countries of Europe. She was an avid reader and preferred British novels, from Anthony Trollope to Kate Atkinson. She loved going to Broadway shows and art galleries, and knew the words to dozens of show tunes. Her artistic ability was evident from childhood, and she passed her love of art on to her children and grandchildren through the countless art projects she instigated. She enjoyed nurturing people through her excellent cooking, and liked nothing more than to have a group gathered for meals and celebrations at her house. Her most cherished ambition, from early childhood, was to be a mother, and a more caring, fun loving, and wise mother and grandmother could not be imagined. Ellen was born on January 13, 1946 in Winnipeg, Manitoba to the late George Blake and Mary Patricia Matthews. She spent her childhood years in western Canada and Bogota, Colombia. After graduating from Northfield School for Girls in 1963, Ellen earned her BFA and MSW degrees from Stony Brook University, and her Ed. D degree from Hofstra University. She began her professional career as a social worker for the Association for Children with Down Syndrome. She was Director of Early Childhood Services at the Developmental Disabilities Institute, where she worked for 15 years and developed the Starting Early program, one of the first to prove the benefits of early intervention. She joined the Cody Center shortly after its inception in 2001, and worked tirelessly and effectively to build its strengths as the area autism resource center for training and education, clinical treatment, community outreach and research. During her tenure the center served more than a thousand families each year. She retired, reluctantly, in 2011 because of her illness. Among Ellen's survivors are her husband of 49 years, John Neff Woodward, her sister, Janet Fox Tomlinson and husband Tom, of Lewisville, North Carolina; her brother, James Blake Matthews of Faversham, Kent, England; her daughter, Amanda Lea Woodward and husband, Andrew Campbell, of Chicago, IL; her son, John Matthew Woodward and wife Sarah, of Greenlawn, NY; four granddaughters, Sophia Campbell, and Eloise, Chloe, and Madelin Woodward, and her Portuguese water dog, Mia. There will be a memorial service on Thursday, February 6 at 11:00 a.m. at the Greenlawn Presbyterian Church, 497 Pulaski Rd, Greenlawn. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to Autism Speaks (www.autismspeaks.org)

Memorial Service

11:00 am
Thursday, February 6, 2014
Greenlawn Presbyterian Church, Greenlawn, NY
497 Pulaski Road
Greenlawn, New York, United States