April 08, 2009
Elwood Arno Padham, 82, died April 8, 2009, at Holbrook Health Center in Scarborough where he was lovingly cared for by the wonderful staff there. Elwood, better known as Woody, was born in Solon on April 2, 1927. He was the younger son of Arno L. and Ida M. (Cook) Padham. Following his graduation from Solon High, he enlisted in the Navy and became a part of the Sea Bees who were building airstrips on strategic islands in the South Pacific. After his discharge from the service, he married his high school sweetheart, Geneva Longfellow. The two were married for 60 years. Elwood was taken under a neighbor's wing, taught rough carpentry and worked on construction until in 1949 he decided to further his education. He entered the industrial arts program at Gorham State Teachers College and earned his bachelor's degree in that program. His first teaching job was at Anson Academy in North Anson. Three years later he began work on his master of arts degree at the University of Maryland. Returning to Maine in 1957, he became an assistant professor of general shop at his college alma mater. Again in 1962, he returned to Maryland to begin work on his doctor of education degree, which was awarded in 1978. In the meantime he began working for the state of Maine Department of Education as director of industrial arts, and eventually as associate commissioner of the Bureau of Vocational and Adult Education, retiring in 1984. Safety in the workplace was always a concern of Woody Padham's, and in his retirement he taught numerous courses in occupational safety for such firms as International Paper Co. and Georgia-Pacific Corp., among others. He also developed a small book for students and adults entitled "Safety Practices Guide." Before retiring for the last time, he wrote more than 300 four- to five-minute safety lessons for use at Sappi Fine Paper in Skowhegan. Both Elwood and Geneva were longtime members of the Pleasant Street United Methodist Church in Waterville and were involved in many aspects of the church life. Both enjoyed traveling in their retirement years and kept fit through ballroom dancing. They were also members of the Maine Old Cemetery Assoc-iation, and spent many a day recording stones in various cemeteries for this organization. This led to an interest in genealogy and family reunions with Padham families on both coasts, and also with the Cook families of Prince Edward Island, his mother's birthplace. He is survived by his wife, Geneva; three children, Michael Padham, Catherine Padham, and Janice Rogers and her husband, Darrell; four grandchildren, Christopher and Jamie Padham and Samantha and Nathan Rogers; as well as some special cousins, three nieces and a nephew. He was predeceased by his parents and one brother, Errol and one sister, Nona Given. Visiting hours will take place from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 12, at the Redington Funeral Home, 5 Park St., Waterville. A memorial service will take place at 1 p.m. Monday, April 13, at the Pleasant Street United Methodist Church, with Arlene Tully officiating. Burial will take place at a later date. Donations in his memory may be made to the following: Maine Alzheimer's Association, 170 U.S. Route 1, Suite 250, Falmouth, ME 04105; or to Pleasant Street United Methodist Church Building Fund, 61 Pleasant St., Waterville, ME 04901.