Beloved Highlands benefactor dies at 95

Jane Woodruff, age 95, passed away peacefully at home on the afternoon of July 29, 2021.

“Mrs. Woodruff loved this community, and she was a great Highlander. Her generosity and longtime support of this community will be an enduring legacy of devotion to her fellow citizens and community institutions.” – Town of Highlands Mayor Pat Taylor

Throughout her life, Jane was devoted to her family above all else. As matriarch of her family, Jane was dedicated to her devoted sons, Richard “Buck” Woodruff (Ann) and John Woodruff. Jane constantly doted on her five grandchildren – Carolina Stamm Woodruff, Alexandra Winship Woodruff, Lillian Chappell Woodruff, John Winship Woodruff, and Richard Harrison Woodruff. The most recent addition to the family, six-year-old great-grandson John Barbato, III – affectionately known as Tripp – brought a light to Jane’s eye even in her final days.

Best known for her monumental charitable endeavors, Jane deeply touched the lives of many people. Her current endowments stretch from medical establishments originally supported by her father, George W. Woodruff, to educational institutions that she and her family supported throughout their lives.

Her continual gifts to the Shepherd Center, Mayo Clinic, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and the Highlands Cashiers Hospital, enable hundreds of thousands of patients to receive medical care in state-of-the-art facilities. 

While pregnant with her first son, Jane spent time at Emory Hospital as a “pink lady” volunteer. Even while caring for her own family, she prioritized the care of strangers, who she considered friends. 

In Highlands alone, she was a long-time philanthropist and benefactor and the driving financial source behind not only the funding of the Highlands Cashiers Hospital, but also the Highlands Community Childcare Center, the Highlands Civic Center and Rec Park, the Highlands Post Office as well as paving the way for the new Highlands Fire & Rescue Dept. She also provided the seed money to start the Martin-Lipscomb Performing Arts Center’s capital campaign. 

Jane believed that the future of the country depended on quality education for everyone. She was staunchly dedicated to educational institutions in the state of Georgia, including Emory University, Mercer University, Woodward Academy, Pace Academy, Rabun Gap Nacoochee School, The Westminster School, The Lovett School, and others. Jane knew that education could help people build better lives for themselves and their families.

Born in Atlanta, GA on September 30, 1925, Jane started school at Lula Compton Seminary in Birmingham, AL, later attending Seabreeze Private School and Graham-Eckes Private School in Daytona Beach, FL. She earned her high school diploma from Washington Seminary in Atlanta, GA and her bachelor’s degree from Mt. Vernon College in Washington, D.C., serving as president of her class and on student council. 

A woman of strong faith, Jane was a lifetime member of North Avenue Presbyterian Church. She was an active member of the Junior League of Atlanta, Highlands Country Club, Halifax Club and Oceanside Country Club. As a young woman, Jane was a member of Atlanta Debutante Club, the Rabun-Gap Nacoochee Guild, Tallulah Falls Circle, Cherokee Garden Club, Capital City Club, and the Georgia Arabian Horse Association.

Jane was a lifetime member of the Henrietta Egleston Hospital Auxiliary, the General Society of Mayflower Decedents, and the National Society of Daughters of American Revolution. Jane was preceded in death by her mother, Irene (Tift) King Woodruff, her father, George W. Woodruff, sisters, Irene and Frances, as well as her former husband Richard Woodward King of Anderson, SC.. 

As a beloved resident of Atlanta, GA, Highlands, NC, and Ormond Beach, FL, Jane’s passing is a great loss to the communities that she has supported throughout her life. 

A private burial service will take place in the coming days and a memorial service will be held in her honor in the near future. 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent in her memory to the Shepherd Center Foundation at 2020 Peachtree Road, Atlanta, GA 30309,

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