Life Celebration Today for Late Conservation Officer Woidyla

A life celebration takes place this afternoon for former Haverhill Conservation Officer Steven F. Woidyla, who died last week at age 72 after a three-and-a-half-year battle with pancreatic cancer.

Only this past July, Haverhill city councilors honored Woidyla by naming an area at Round Pond as the “Steven F. Woidyla Landing and Trail.” The effort was spearheaded by Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan.

“Steve is a life-long resident of our city, having grown up on 11th Avenue and now living on 18th Avenue—not far from Round Pond. As a child Steve and his dad and the Woidyla family would fish and hike and ice skate at Round Pond, often at the very location we are looking to dedicate in his name tonight,” Sullivan said in his tribute.

Access to the trail begins at Stanley Avenue.

The life celebration takes place from 4 to 8 p.m., at Brookside Chapel and Funeral Home, 116 Main St., Plaistow, N.H. His funeral begins Wednesday, 9 a.m., from the funeral home with a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m., in St. James Church, Haverhill. Burial follows in St. Patrick Cemetery.

Woidyla, passed away Tuesday, Aug. 30, at Merrimack Valley Hospice House. He was born in Haverhill, Sept. 14, 1943, the son of late Haverhill Police Officer Steven and Mary (Madden) Woidyla. He is survived by his wife, Lorraine Irene (Lesiczka) Woidyla. On May 22, they celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary.

He attended Haverhill public schools and graduated from Haverhill Trade School, class of 1962, and went to work at Raytheon. Thereafter, from 1963 to 1967, he worked at Belock Instrument Co. as a Quality Control Inspector on the Hawk Missile. When Belock moved out of state, Woidyla went to work for the City of Haverhill as a heavy equipment operator and tree climber. From 1974 until his retirement in 2000, he was a law enforcement conservation officer for the city. He also was a reserve police officer for the Town of Groveland, from 1983 to 1986, and was a long-time employee and friend of Wally’s Vegetables of Haverhill. From 1963 to 1969, he served in the Massachusetts National Guard Yankee Division and Reserve of the Army and was honorably discharged as a staff sergeant. He was stationed for a short time at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. He enjoyed fishing, hunting, bowling, and card games with his buddies, his long-time vegetable garden and most especially enjoyed sharing all that he grew with neighbors and friends. He was a member of the Plaistow Fish and Game Club for more than 43 years, serving on the board of directors and as vice president from May, 2015, to April, 2016. He was a life-long member of St. James Parish, Haverhill, and a member of the Holy Name Society. In earlier years, he was involved in the annual parish picnics at the Sisters Farm, the St. Patrick’s Dinner for Senior Citizens, working the Friday night Bingo games and helping in any way he could.

Besides his wife, he is survived by three children, son, Steven A. Woidyla and Lisa Breen of Salem, N.H.; daughters, Patricia A. MacRae and fiancé Joseph Carrabino of Lynn and Jean Marie Sargent of Haverhill; six grandchildren, Jerry, Ashley and Matthew MacRae and their father, Robert MacRae, S. Jacob Woidyla and Allison and Christopher Sargent Jr.; sister, Maureen and her husband, Doug Gove; sisters-in-law, Betty Lee and Barbara Rollins and her husband, Peter; as well as many nieces, nephews, godchildren, dear friends and neighbors.

In spite of hating Boston traffic, he considered himself blessed to have received care from the Massachusetts General Hospital team of Dr. Jason Faris; Patty Tammaro, his infusion nurse; John Opolski and Dr. Janet Murphy.

Donations in his name may be made to the Liz Murphy Food Pantry c/o St. James Parish, 6 Cottage St., Haverhill, MA 01830.

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