Gene McDaniel Woodell

Gene McDaniel Woodell
June 25, 1926 – January 11, 2018

Gene McDaniel Woodell, 91, of Bryan, beloved father, husband, uncle, son, neighbor and favorite pharmaceutical detail man passed away Thursday, January 11th, 2018.

A family visitation will be held at Callaway-Jones Funeral Home in Bryan on Friday, January 19th, 2018, from 5 pm – 8 pm. A celebration of life service will be held Saturday, January 20th, 2018, at 11 am, at First United Methodist Church of Bryan. Pastor Rick Sitton will officiate. A reception will immediately follow in the church gymnasium. Burial will be at 3:30 pm at Old Bethel Cemetery near Bryan. Life Tribute Services are in the care of Callaway-Jones Funeral and Cremation Centers Bryan – College Station.

Called mainly by his last name by most of his friends, Woodell was born June 25, 1926, in Oakdale, Louisiana. He was the youngest of five children born to Alexander and Lucy May Woodell. His father ran a commissary at a saw mill. After three years, the family moved to Grapeland, Texas, where Gene grew up. While applying for the boy scouts at the age of 13, board member Otto Walling was so impressed with young Gene, that he immediately hired him to work at his drug store, Walling’s Pharmacy. Gene loved working in the drug store, eventually running the store for a week or two at a time when Mr. Walling went on vacation. Gene developed the fine art of making milk shakes and serving ice cream cones that only cost a nickel at the time.

While growing up, Gene and friends formed a group called: “Better Men of Grapeland.” The group had rules and bylaws that promoted service in the Grapeland community and encouraged clean and healthy living.

As a 1944 graduate of Grapeland High School, Gene was voted: “Most likely to be President of The United States.” In early 1944, Gene enlisted in the Navy, but Uncle Sam had different plans and drafted him into the Army. He served several places along the way, but most memorable was his time as corporal at Fort Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska, where his drug store experience landed him the interesting assignment of making ice cream daily from scratch for the troops.

After World War II, Gene attended school at Texas A&M College, Sam Houston State Teachers College and graduated from Stephen F. Austin College in 1951 with a degree in history. While in Nacogdoches, Texas, Gene worked at Swift Brothers and Smith Drug Store.

After graduation, Gene had several job opportunities, but quickly began working for Sharp and Dohme Pharmaceuticals, which soon joined Merck Pharmaceuticals and became Merck, Sharp and Dohme. When Gene moved to Bryan in 1951 there were just two doctors in College Station and six in Bryan.

While visiting a friend in Huntsville, he met Dixie Lee Martin from Buffalo, Texas, who was his friend’s roommate. Even though Dixie was not interested in Gene at first, he soon won her over when on a future visit she was sick and he cured her ailment with a few home remedies he had learned while working in the drug store.

Gene and Dixie were married on February 27, 1954, at First Baptist Church in Buffalo, Texas, and enjoyed 63 wonderful years of marriage. They were blessed with two sons Gene Martin Woodell and John Royall Woodell.

Gene was a member of First United Methodist Church of Bryan for 67 years where he served as an usher during his membership. Through the years Gene helped greet, welcome and encourage thousands of members and guests. Gene also served on many boards and committees at the church, taught Sunday School and worked with the youth program. He was a member and past president of the 2×2 Sunday School Class. He was a Mason and past member of the Circle Squares Square Dance Club, Knife and Fork Club and First Methodist Church of Grapeland. Gene also served with Habitat for Humanity, Elder Aid and the Brazos Church Pantry.

At Merck Pharmaceutical Company, Gene worked 37 years where he was a senior professional representative. He earned many sales awards working his territory that included the Bryan-College Station area and twenty surrounding counties. Upon his retirement in the spring of 1988 he was presented a plaque and named “favorite drug representative” by the Brazos-Robertson Counties Medical Society.

Gene is survived by his loving wife, Dixie Woodell and sons Gene Martin Woodell and John Royall Woodell, all of Bryan.

He is also survived by nephews and nieces: Kenneth Jay and Joy Blalock, Barry Lee Blalock, Frank Maxfield Looney, Betty and Robert Query, Thomas and Maxine Woodell, Randall and Melinda Martin, and Gena and Gary Turner.

He was proceeded in death by his parents Alexander Moore Woodell and Lucy May Royall Woodell, sister Zelda Frances Woodell, brother Royall Woodell and wife Rena D’Avy Woodell, sister Kathleen Looney and husband James Parks Looney, sister Lucy May Blalock and husband John W. Blalock, nephews John “Joe” Blalock and James Looney, and in-laws Royce and Virginia Lee Martin and Virginia and Gene Adkisson.

Anyone who ever knew Gene would agree that he was one of the most kind, warm, polite and caring men they had ever known. He was a real gentleman and people person who was always glad to see you and made you feel welcome. He always looked for the best in everyone and tried to make every situation he encountered better than he found it. He was thankful and appreciated all he had been given. He was solid, true and trustworthy.

Woodell will be best remembered for his happy, cheerful and joyful personality, his big smile and his kind heart, his encouraging words, his quick and witty sense of humor, his giving spirit, and his love for his family, his church and all of those around him.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Gene Woodell’s memory to: First United Methodist Church of Bryan, 506 East 28th Street, Bryan, Texas 77803.

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  1. Rest In Peace Gene Always a nice person and in good spirits.Such a happy person.When I worked for Dr Roy Smith would see him when he came to visit

  2. We are so sorry for your loss. He was just the nicest kindest man. Always quietly helping others. His light shown brightly !

  3. I write this with tears streaming down my face but with a picture of a sweetly smiling Woodell patting me on the shoulder saying , “ Now, Nancy Lou, I want you to know I fought the good fight and finiished the race and have been welcomed by my Savior with the words, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant .’ I have just passed from one chapter of life to the one that is eternal. My struggling is over; my glorious eternal life with Jesus in heaven has begun. I’m here, it’s real and available to all who trust Jesus and Jesus alone as Savior.”
    I know this kind, wonderful man will be terribly missed by many, many people. I met him about 55 years ago when I was 7 years old when the Woodells moved in next door. He and his family’s love and hospitality to me and my mother and daddy cannot be overstated. And the care and friendship extended by Woodell and his family to my mother after I left home is appreciated more than I can ever express.
    I thank the Lord for Gene Woodell and I pray for comfort and peace for Dixie, Gene Martin and John as they grieve their loss, but rest in the blessed assurance that this is merely a temporary good-bye. That sweet, kind, funny and generous man is alive, (probably telling some of his famous stories) and well in his eternal home and they will see him again.
    I love this family and I,too, will miss Woodell on this side of heaven, but know I will see him again.

  4. What a wonderful man who was always so kind and friendly. I will never forget his great smile! He was our favorite drug rep when he came to my Dad’s medical office and we always looked forward to seeing him. His smile lit up the office. After my Dad died I would occasionally see Mr. Woodell and he would always stop and tell me how much he missed my Dad, and how nice he was to him. Mr. Woodell will be missed, also! Prayers and hugs to his family – thank you for sharing him with our community! We are blessed to have known him!

  5. When my husband, Lyndon Bing, opened his office in Katy, Texas in 1951, Gene Woodell was one of our detail men. He was one of the best.!! I’m not sure, but he may have also called on my father-in-law in Oakwood, Texas.

    I am sending a memorial to the Methodist Church/Bryan.

    Dorothy Bing

  6. Mrs. Woodell, May God bless you with comfort, love and support during this time of loss.
    I so wanted to make the services, but will be working.
    You are so sweet and sending you a huge hug!

    When you need a break and have time, come by the Kettle College Station, I work Friday 5-10 pm, Saturday thru Tuesday 2-10 pm, would love to give you that hug in person.

  7. Dixie, Gene Martin, and John, what a joy Woodell was to everyone who met him! His smile said it all. I love that he was always ready with a hearty laugh; and in his later years, how he always asked me, “How’s your mama?” My parents talked of the happy times they had with the Woodells over the bridge table (or was it 42?) I know it’s a bittersweet time for all of you, but take heart in the fact that you had a husband/father that lived life to the fullest, in such a way that brought happiness to others.
    Melinda Box & Marjorie Burleson

  8. Mrs. Woodell, So sorry to hear that your husband passed away. I did not know him that well, however, the few times we were together I enjoyed his friendly and joyful attitude. Thank You
    for being my High School English and Typing Teacher in the 1950’s! You were a great Teacher and a very nice person who helped/worked hard to provide an education that helped me through out my life! Take Care, John Sefcik, Tyler, Texas

  9. I am so sorry for your loss. Mr. Woodell was an honor to his family and community, and I was blessed to get to know him

  10. Dearest Woodell family, I’m sorry that this note is late getting to you, but I just found out about Mr. Woodell today. Mrs. Woodell might remember me from working at Brown’s Shoe Fit Co. many years ago. I always enjoyed helping you Mrs. Woodell, but I enjoyed visiting with Mr. Woodell more. He always put a smile on my face! Gene Martin may know me and my family from The Theater Company. My kids were in many shows some of which you were in. Your dad was a very special man and made a positive impact on everyone he met. Finally John, you definitely remember me from riding the school bus together way back in the late 70’s. I was the energetic little chubby kid that yelled out “Granny’s here!” when my grandmother came for a visit. Out of all the men that have passed thru my life, I believe that if I could’ve picked another dad for myself, I would’ve picked the one that God blessed you with for so long. The Woodell family will be in my thoughts and prayers. Let me know if I can ever be of service to you! Love y’all!

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