Gloria Poling Woodard passed away peacefully in her sleep and went to be with her beloved Jesus and her parents, with her beloved son by her side on July 28, 2019. She was five days short of her 85th birthday. Gloria was born on Aug. 3, 1934, to Maudie and Emery Poling in Omaha, Nebraska. She grew up in Moorhead, Iowa, where she attended grade-school and high school, graduating in 1952. She was a varsity starter on the basketball team and loved the sport all of her life. She married in 1952 and eventually had three children, of whom she was extremely proud. Throughout her life she delighted in helping others.
After her marriage ended, Gloria courageously decided to complete her education so she could provide for her youngest son, Aaron, who was only 13 years old. At the age of 50, she went back to college at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion where she completed her BS degree and eventually earned her MA in Educational Psychology and Counseling with distinction. She was always proud to be a Coyote and supported both her sons as they completed their degrees at USD as well.
She then embarked on a 25-year career as a chemical dependency counselor. She worked at the state prison in Springfield, in California, at USD and eventually at Keystone Treatment Center in Canton and Sioux Falls. During her career she helped thousands of individuals stop their destructive behaviors with alcohol and drugs and assisted them to begin the road to recovery.
In her retirement years she enjoyed accompanying her son, Aaron, to the various colleges and universities where he teaches history and government. She made many friends with young students who often brought her cookies and candy (which she loved), and she ended up providing free counseling services to many of these young people in the hallways where she was sitting in her wheelchair. She also loved playing the piano and did so the day before her passing-her favorite song was “This World is Not My Home.”
Gloria was a lifetime member of the Moorhead Christian Church, where she played the organ and piano during her teens. She was a devout Evangelical Christian all of her life, loved Jesus and truly, it can be said of her career of help and counseling, “Well done my good and faithful servant-enter now into the joy of the Lord.”
Gloria was preceded in death by her grandparents, parents and her brother, Gordon Poling. She is survived by her children, Cynthia Tuinstra (Portland, Oregon), Charles Woodard (Vermillion) and her youngest son, Dr. Aaron Robert Woodard (Hartford), who served as her primary caregiver for the last several years. She is also survived by three granddaughters and one great-granddaughter. She had a full and productive life and was a wonderful mother and friend. All of her children look forward to seeing her again once they reach Heaven.
A memorial service will be held at the Moorhead Christian Church in Moorhead, Iowa at 2 p.m. on Friday Aug. 9 with committal at the Spring Valley Cemetery near Moorhead in the family plot, by her parents and aunt. Memorials and sympathies can be sent to 307 E.9th Street, Apt.#8, Hartford S.D., 57033.