Daniel Ivers Woodard, 42, moved to his Heavenly home on Jan. 23, 2022. Daniel was born on July 21, 1979 in Loveland, Colo., where he was raised and completed high school. He moved to Mountain Grove with his family in 1998 and lived independently for 20 years at McElldo Apartments. In 2018, medical issues necessitated more physical care and he chose Autumn Oaks Caring Center for his home. Daniel’s diagnosis at birth of Down Syndrome never held him back from pursuing his many interests. Learning to read as a child led to his avid love of reading, as well as writing poetry and his “books” about the West.
His vivid imagination led him to embrace various roles…first as an EMT, then on to Texas Rangers Law Enforcement, then St. Louis Cardinals’ fan, then U.S. Marshal and finally his role as cross-maker and honorary pastor at Autumn Oaks. Daniel had a cheerful smile and a gentle demeanor and loved to be around people, and enjoyed tipping his cowboy hat to the ladies.
He loved animals, especially horses, cats and buffalo. He dabbled in art and weaving. His greatest love was for God. He would spend hours each day worshiping, praying, reading his many Bibles and writing sermons. He cherished visits from his pastor and church friends at The Way.
Music was a huge part of his life. He learned to play the piano as a child, then took guitar lessons in Missouri and taught himself the harmonica. When Daniel was a teen in Colorado, Loveland sculptor George Lundeen asked him to model for a special work including the artist’s children. Copies of that life-size bronze sculpture now grace McKee Medical Center in Loveland and Children’s Hospital in Denver.
Daniel is survived by his parents, Craig and Elaine Woodard; and brother, Nathan and wife, Laura, of Redding, Calif.; aunts and uncles include, Bill and Lorrie Martin, of Durham, Conn.; Chris West, also of Durham; Scott Woodard, of Littleton, Colo.; and Jim and Norma Woodard, of Naperville, Ill.; cousins, Geoffrey and Kate Martin, of Middletown, Conn. (children, Maya, Emma and Ethan), Shnelle, Lynnzie, Taeleen and Keriaua Woodard, of the Denver, Colo. area; Colleen McKinney (children, Lilyana and Jameson); Shauna McKinney; and Mary McKinney (daughter Francesca), all of the Denver, Colo. area; and many other relatives living in Connecticut, Virginia, Georgia, Illinois and Florida. Preceding Daniel in death were his grandparents, John and Barbara West, of Durham, Conn.; Kenneth Woodard, of Littleton, Colo.; and Elizabeth Liechti, of Littleton, Colo.; as well as an infant cousin, Joshua Woodard, of Littleton, Colo.; aunt, Gale McKinney, of Englewood, Colo.; uncle, John West, of Durham, Conn.; and dear friend, June Cloud, of Mountain Grove.
A Celebration of Life gathering will take place on Saturday, Feb. 5 at McElldo Apartments, 301 West First Street in Mountain Grove at 2 p.m. If desired, donations may be made to Camp Barnabas (www.campbarnabas.org), Spirit FM Radio (spiritfm.org) or to Be The Gift Ministry (www.bethegift.com). Arrangements are under the direction of Craig-Hurtt Funeral Home of Mountain Grove.