Essie Braswell Woodard thumbnail

Essie Braswell Woodard

September 9, 1932 - September 17, 2020


CONWAY, NC – Essie Braswell Woodard, age 88, of Garriss Street, passed away on Thursday evening, September 17, 2020 at the Rich Square Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

Mrs. Woodard was born in Northampton County, NC on September 9, 1932 to the late Robert Gurney Braswell and Hattie Mae Duke Braswell. Essie was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother who was devoted to being a homemaker and taking care of her family. She spent most of her extra time with her six children, so there was little time for hobbies.  She taught her children to love the Lord, made sure she kept her house spotless, groomed her yard full of azaleas, made sure there were plenty of fresh vegetables from the garden and attended any event in which her children participated.  She was a great cook and a wonderful seamstress. She never let her children go without the latest fashions, always sewing the new styles herself.  Essie enjoyed her vacations at White Lake, teaching others to water ski, even though she never learned how. She never learned to swim either, but loved watching all the family swim, while she floated in a tractor tube from her brother-in-law Braxton Ricks.

Essie trained bookkeeping classes at Roanoke Chowan Technical College and ran the financial side of Small Motors and Service when her husband, Shirley, and she bought the business. Together, as partners, they created a successful business in Murfreesboro, NC.  Shirley always gives her credit for making the business possible.  Essie will be greatly missed by her family and friends.

Essie is survived by her loving husband, Shirley; four daughters, Kathy Sumner and husband Leo of Windsor; Cindy Coombs and husband David of Conway; Becky Holloman and husband Jim of Tulsa, OK; and Debbie McGee and husband George of Severn; two sons, Stewart Woodard and fiancé Sebrina Turner of Conway; and Melvin Woodard and wife Pam of Pendleton; 13 grandchildren; and 15 great-grandchildren, 2 on the way, and one in heaven.

There will be a private family viewing. A celebration of life funeral service will be held at Conway Baptist Church on Tuesday, September 22, 2020 at 1:00 pm with Rev. Willie McLawhorn officiating. Burial will follow in the Conway Cemetery.

To honor Essie’s love of children, memorial donations may be made to the Sgt. Willie “Claw” McLawhorn Scholarship. (Checks may be sent to Northeast Academy, 210 East Church Street, Lasker, NC  27845 with Will McLawhorn Scholarship in the memo.) or online by clicking here

Garrett-Sykes Funeral Service – Ahoskie Chapel is handling the arrangements for the Woodard family and online condolences can be directed to the family by visiting

Service Information

Service Information

Date: Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Time: 1:00 pm


Conway Baptist Church

229 North Church Street,
Conway, NC 27820

Cemetery Information

Date: Tuesday, September 22, 2020


Conway Cemetery

North Church Street
Conway, NC 27820

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