First mayor’s widow becomes a centenarian

Eula Turner Woodard Celebrated her 100th Birthday on  Saturday, April 4 surrounded by family and friends making her a centurion.

Although Woodard’s orginial birthday was  Sunday, April 12, over one hundred relatives and friends gathered at New Rocky Valley Baptist Church in Grambling to wish the wife of the first mayor of Grambling, B.T. Woodard, well. 

Recognitions were acknowledged from President Barack Obama, Louisiana State Representative Patrick Jefferson, District Attorney John Belton, Grambling State University Research Club and various church and social ministries.

Woodard was born in Jackson Parish to Minger Bennie Turner and Ola Williams Turner. She is the last surviving sibling of nine.

She credits her faith and a healthy lifestyle for her longevity.

The accomplishment Woodard is most proud of is rearing four productive citizens, she also helped the city of Grambling get their first street lights. 

Bennie T. Woodard Jr., deceased, was an Air Force fighter pilot during the Vietnam War, serving as forward air controller. Honorably discharged as captain, he was later promoted to captain in the Naval Reserve. 

Martha Woodard Andrus is a teacher at Grambling State University and has servd as the mayor of the City of Grambling.

Elaine Woodard Dunn is a retired auditor for the United States Internal Revenue Service. Donald B. Woodard is a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel. 

Woodard also has nine grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

“My mother was always an example for me,” said Andrus.

She said, “What I admire most about my mother is her independence and carriage (she is always a lady).”

Andrus said being the oldest, she felt a sense of responsibility for her siblings in making sure that they did the things that would help them through life.

Woodard is a gifted, retired,  seamstress. She taught tailoring at Grambling College now known as Grambling State University with husband Bennie T. Woodard Sr.  

Woodard has been a member of New Rocky Valley Baptist Church since 1943, serving in various capacities. Her service includes Children’s Department Sunday School Teacher, Chancel Choir President/member, Deaconess Board, Vacation Bible School, and Dorcas Circle Women’s Missionary Society. She also served as “Hostess” for the church for many years and was named “Woman of the Year” in 1997. 

Woodard served as vice chair of the Grambling Joy Fund, a Boy Scout den mother, and the founding Worthy Matron of the Evening Star chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star. She is a currently a member of the Grambling Unit of Retired Teachers Association.  

Alongside her husband, the late Mayor B. T. Woodard Sr., the “First Lady of the Town of Grambling” served the town for 24 years.