Watertown, SD-Celebration of Life for Delos “Del” E. Woodard, 91, of Watertown and formerly of Aberdeen will be 1:00 pm Friday, May 27, 2022, at Carlsen Funeral Home and Crematory in Aberdeen. Rev. Dr. Ken Nelson will officiate. The service will be live streamed and available at www.Carlsenfh.com under Del’s obituary.
Burial will be in Riverside Memorial Park Cemetery, Aberdeen with military graveside rites.
Del died September 15, 2021, at Avantara Watertown.
Del was born in Frazee, MN on August 13, 1930, to Alvin G. and Inga M. (Ellison) Woodard. His early years of school were in Frazee, MN. He completed grade school in Detroit Lakes, MN. School was never something Del enjoyed, but he would spend many hours fishing around the many Minnesota lakes. On weekends, when he was in his teens, some of the big bands would set up and perform in Detroit Lakes. This is when he said, “The musical bug had bitten him.” His later teens found him and his family settling in Moorhead, MN.
Del had started playing drums with various dance bands in the local area, one being “Bernie Ostrum and the Minnesota Woodchoppers” featuring Jimmy Jenson on the accordion. This was a chance of a lifetime and for most of Del’s adult life, he was able to maintain contact with Jimmy. In addition to dances, the Woodchoppers performed often on the KVOX radio station. Del was the last living member of this band.
Del served in the army completing his basic training at Fort Rucker, AL, preparing him for overseas service during the Korean War Conflict. He served initially in a ground field artillery battery, and later as a medic and ambulance driver in Korea specifically. Once honorably discharged, Del returned home to Moorhead and resumed playing in the same band. He also was a barber and fireman during this period. During his working years, he did a variety of jobs, truck driver, pest control and maintenance/building repairs; but nothing was as dear to him as his music.
Del was an accomplished musician, with drums, vocals, and guitar as his expertise. During these years, Del continued playing in various bands as vocalist and lead guitarist. In the early 70’s, he put together and fronted his own band, “Del and the Woodsmen” which eventually included two of his sons, Ted on Drums, and Tim on Bass Guitar. This band existed for many years and provided satisfaction in that he could play and still be with his sons during their early teens when they started performing with him. Highlights of Del’s musical career was when he was inducted into the SD Music Hall of Fame in 2015, and then received their Lifetime Achievement Award when his sons were inducted in 2017.
Del married Alice Mae McColm of Edgeley, ND on October 4, 1953, and raised their family primarily in the Aberdeen area. From their marriage, they had five children, all Central High School graduates. Julie (Woodard) Newberg, Higley, AZ; Jean (Woodard) and John (Tony) Meiers, Minot, ND; Tom and Sandra (Smith) Woodard, Alexandria, VA; Tim Woodard, Watertown, SD; and Ted and Becky (Madsen) Woodard, Galesville, WI. Del is survived by his five children, 11 grandchildren, 20 great grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Alice; parents, Inga, and Glen; sister, Verna Flesness, and grandson, Justin Thomas Woodard.
Memorials can be sent to, Julie Newberg, PO Box 1688, Higley, AZ 85236 for Del’s requested donation organizations.
Carlsen Funeral Home and Crematory of Aberdeen has been entrusted with arrangements.
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