Mayor on Duty

I had the honor to represent the Town of Highlands at the celebration of life and remembrance for Jane Woodruff. The celebration was held was last Sunday in Atlanta. There were also a number of Highlanders in attendance in tribute to this remarkable woman.

As I had said earlier at the news of her passing, Jane Woodruff was a great Highlander. I was invited to say a few words at the celebration. Let me share some of the thoughts I expressed to her wonderful family and assembled friends.

I know many communities have been touched by her presence and philanthropy, but I, along with the Highlanders present, believed Jane viewed Highlands as her hometown. While she resided in several places over her lifetime, of course in Atlanta, her intense interest and presence here indicated she had a special place in her heart for Highlands.

I shared with the gathering my last visit with her a few months ago. It was at the Woodruff homestead next to the Highlands Country Club. I brought a group of town staff with me to share with Jane the plans for the new fire department. Like so many endeavors, Jane had played a key role in the town securing the property for the new station.

After sharing the plans with her, she offered us a Coca Cola which we all happily accepted.  What was amazing to me was she would ask staff members about their families, and they would tell her about their parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Jane knew many of their family members, just as if she had lived here all her life. We talked about legendary town characters and stories. I sensed she really enjoyed reminiscing about the Highlands of old.

She never asked me any special favors as mayor. She simply wanted me to assure her that our town was running smoothly and doing well. I will always remember that afternoon and having a Coca Cola with Jane Woodruff.

I also told the assembled celebration that what surprised me in Jane’s obituary was that she had been a Pink Lady; that is a member of the Emory University Hospital Auxiliary. It struck a chord with me since my mother had also been a Pink Lady. I know a lot about that wonderful volunteer group.

Pink Ladies, like Jane Woodruff, were very humble people who believed in serving other people in critical moments of need. The Pink Ladies would serve hospital patients refreshments, deliver them mail, make sure their needs were met, and would take time to talk with the patients and family members just to let them know people cared about them.

I made the point to the group that Jane Woodruff’s generosity and charitable gifts sprang from this simple and basic caring for others. Her service as a Pink Lady was one cornerstone of her Christian faith and commitment to helping others and charitable institutions.

In Highlands her generosity has created a legacy that will keep giving for years to come. Our hospital campus would not exist if it weren’t for her many gifts. Our child development center and civic center are other legacies of her caring for the people of Highlands. 

I don’t have enough space to cite all the nonprofit and medical institutions that she supported both here and in so many other communities. But, like all Highlanders, I am so grateful for Jane Woodruff and the wonderful life of love, service and generosity that she lived.

  • Town of Highlands Mayor Pat Taylor

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