Deceased January 13, 2022

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In Memory

John A. Woodcock was an award-winning English professor; astute photographer; active volunteer; and loving and much-loved father, brother, friend and husband. John’s intelligence, broad curiosity, and warm and gentle nature touched many people’s lives. He died on his 82nd birthday, Jan. 13, 2022.

John grew up in Huntington, Long Island, and attended Millbrook School, followed by Amherst College. In 1962, he married Joan Ames and enlisted in the Army. They were posted to the island of Hokkaido in northern Japan, where John spent three years decoding Russian transmissions.

In late 1965, John earned a Ph.D. in English literature at SUNY Stony Brook. During this time, he and Joan became actively involved with the fledgling Environmental Defense Fund, then based in Stony Brook and working to halt the use of the pesticide DDT.

John next joined the English faculty at Indiana University and, while there, also offered courses and lectures in the departments of physics, biology, psychology, political science and the history and philosophy of science, as well as the schools of law, public and environmental affairs, education and music. During the 1990s, he was an editor for the syndicated NPR series A Moment of Science. In 1997, IU awarded John the Lieber Memorial Award for Distinguished Teaching.

As a volunteer, John taught autobiography/life-writing courses and served on the IU Health system’s ethics, palliative care and hospice care committees. He served as a pro bono photographer for many organizations, including Flashes of Hope and IU Health. With his second wife, Peggy Woodcock, whom he married in 1990, John created an introductory photography course for homeless individuals. In Egypt in 2011 during the Arab Spring, John documented the first graffiti art on the streets of Cairo and created a photo exhibit that traveled across the United States.

Steve Ames