Essie Braswell Woodard

September 9, 1932 - September 17, 2020

09/09/1932 - 09/17/2020

Past Services

Tuesday September 22, 2020
Conway Cemetery
North Church Street
Conway, NC 27820
Tuesday September 22, 2020
1:00 pm
Conway Baptist Church
229 North Church Street,
Conway, NC 27820


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

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Betty Edwards
3 years ago

To the family of Mrs Woodard: My heartfelt sympathy has been with you and will continue. You all have so many wonderful memories of your wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. I pray that all of these memories will help sustain each of you during this most difficult time now, and in the coming days.

Glenn and Rita Drier
3 years ago

Essie was a true lady. We should all strive to be the kind, calm, loving Christian she was. She will be missed.

Marcia jones
3 years ago

My thoughts and prayers are with you all. I didn’t know her but she sounds like a wonderful lady.

Booker Daniel
3 years ago

The Love that Essie and Shirley had was wonderful to witness. My prayers to the family.

Denise B Helms
3 years ago

Mrs. Essie Mae was a great example of a Christian wife and mother. She nurtured a wonderful bunch of Woodard kids. My love and sympathy to Mr. Woodard, Kathy, Becky, Debbie, Cindy, Stuart and Melvin. Denise Britt Helms

Mary Ayers
3 years ago

May God be with you in this time. I only knew Essie for a little while. She was the sweetest lady Lots of hugs to all.

Charles Slade
3 years ago

Essie and Shirley are two of the nicest people I have ever known. Taught me to water ski.