Ann Marie Woodard Szulski died on Saturday, April 6, surrounded by loving family. She was born at home near Checotah, Oklahoma on April 9, 1942, to Diamond and Pearl (Lane) Woodard. Ann grew up in Muskogee and graduated from Central High School in 1959. She then attended the Muskogee Junior College and completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education at Northeastern State University. She later obtained her Masters Degree in Education at NSU and furthered her post graduate education with a Reading Specialist Certification. She was an excellent seamstress and to earn money while in high school and college, she made clothes including shirts for her stitchery instructor's husband. During that time, she also worked as a medical transcription clerk for Muskogee General Hospital. After college graduation, she began her teaching career as an elementary teacher in Olathe, Kansas. This career spanned 35 years during which she shaped the lives of over 700 children.
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Ann married Peter Szulski on April 5, 1975. They were only able to enjoy four years of marriage before Pete passed away. She is also preceded in death by her parents, brother Diamond Jr. (JD) Woodard, sister Nancy Millsap, sisters-in-law Mary Kay Woodard and Ann Marie Woodard as well as longtime companion Martin Meeks.
Ann is survived by brothers Lee Woodard (Louise) and David Woodard, both of Sallisaw, Oklahoma, one sister Shirley Crum (Don) of Muskogee. Affectionately known as Auntie Annie, she is survived by nephews David Woodard, Jeff Woodard, Stephen Woodard, Phillip Woodard, Ben Woodard and Donnie Crum along with nieces Melissa Cloud, Jennifer Woodard, Jayne-Ann Isbell, Nicole Millsap, Margaret Crum, Donna Slawson, and Tracy Lynch. She was especially proud of and enjoyed spending time with great nephews and nieces. She is also survived by many cousins and friends. She especially loved her recent caregivers Debra, Norma, Gabby and great niece Destiny.
Ann was taught the value of education by her mother who also passed along her love of reading. Ann was a generous person. When her parents struggled to buy school clothes and Christmas gifts, she used her earnings to ensure the younger siblings did not go without. She and her brother Lee have kept the family history alive including stories of younger years spent playing with cousins on “Punkin Ridge.” Ann was a pretty good dancer, whether it was doing the stroll to Fats Domino as a teen in the living room, swirling with Martin at 'Parents Without Partners Dances' in Kansas City, or joining Nancy and Shirley in imitating the “Sisters” song from “White Christmas”. Ann now has a new body, and she is dancing in Heaven.
Funeral services will be held at 12:00 pm Thursday April 11, 2019 at the Lescher-Millsap Funeral Home Chapel in Muskogee with her brother Rev. Dr. Lee W. Woodard officiating. Interment will follow at 2:00 pm at Fort Gibson National Cemetery under the care and direction of Lescher-Millsap Funeral Home. Viewing will be on Wednesday from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm.