Sara Lee (Gilbert) Woods, 87, passed peacefully with her family by her side, at sunset on Sunday, December 26, 2021.
Sara was born on January 27, 1934 in Arkansas City, KS, to Clinton and Georgia Lee (Campbell) Gilbert. She and her brother Stanley grew up in Ark City, where Stan says his sister was known as the town beauty. She was even recruited to run for Miss Kansas but her grandmother said, “absolutely no, we don’t want her to have a big head.” Sara was allowed to twirl a baton and be in the Arkalalah Court.
After graduating high school, Sara worked for the Santa Fe Railroad while attending the local community college. She then followed her high school sweetheart, Bill Woods, to the University of Kansas. At KU she majored in Home Economics and minored in Elementary Education. She was a member of the Alpha Chi Omega social sorority. Sara and Bill were proud alumnae of KU and loved watching the Jayhawks from center court for over 40 years. #RCJH!
Days after graduating college, she married her life-long sweetheart, William Lane on June 10, 1956. They married at her childhood and neighborhood Trinity Episcopal Church in Ark City. After their honeymoon, they were assigned to the Norfolk, VA Naval Base.
Two years later the young couple moved to Lawrence to start Woods Lumber Company and a family. Both had their debut in the summer of 1959.
Sara was a busy wife and mother to Cynthie and Phil. She was involved with school activities, scouting, horses, dirt biking, swimming lessons, dance classes, and more. She was a superb cook and her dinner parties were ever so elegant. She was a hostess to several bridge groups, Ventura Church and social clubs, friends, and family for many, many gatherings. Once hosting Governor, Bob Bennet and U.S. Senator, Bob Dole for the official opening of Clinton Lake.
Sara’s volunteer work was numerous and lengthy, Alpha Chi Omega Alumnae Group; President and more important to her, Treasurer, where she oversaw an addition and remodel of the house. She served at least 30 years in the Altar Guild at Trinity Episcopal, where she was a member since her KU days. Perhaps Sara was most proud of her 30-year service pen from Lawrence Memorial Hospital. She taught aerobics at P.A.T.H in her 50’s and 60’s. When she turned 60, she won a Lawrence Journal World Senior of the Year Award. To which she teased, “I peaked too early.”
Sara Lee was preceded in death by her parents, her loving husband, Bill. Her brother, Stanley Gilbert passed three days after she passed from the same disease Parkinson’s. She is survived by her daughter, Cynthia (David) Kim of Connecticut; her son, Phil (Cathy) of Lawrence, four grandsons, Ryan (Elizabeth) of North Carolina, William Scott (Alexandra) of New Jersey, Tyler (Ashley) of Olathe, KS, and Daniel (Lexus) of Topeka, KS; and sister-in-law, Rikki Kipple of Colorado, New York, and Mexico.
Memorial services for Sara will be held at 2:00 p.m. on January 14, 2022 at Warren-McElwain Mortuary in Lawrence. The family will greet friends prior to the service beginning at 1:00 p.m. at the mortuary.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Sara’s name to LMH Health – Fit for Life or Lawrence Humane Society and may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.
For more information or to post a condolence go to warrenmcelwain.com.