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Remembering Woody

It is with heavy hearts that we received the news longtime friend of the House, Woody Durham, passed away early this morning. Our thoughts immediately go to his wife Jean and how she is doing. Second, we think of the lasting legacy Woody leaves not only on Carolina and Chapel Hill, but on the entire state through his longtime commitment to the families with seriously ill or injured children served by the Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill.

CKC co-founders Mike Haley and Woody Durham

CKC co-founders Mike Haley and Woody Durham

In 1988, 30 years ago this year, Woody co-founded the Carolina Kids Classic golf tournament to benefit the House. The House is full of memories of lively committee meetings in the dining room. He had such passion for the mission of the House and the financial support that the CKC provided to uplift that mission.  During the innumerable planning meetings over the years, Woody would recount so many tales of UNC glory days. He could recall the most minute of details about plays that happened at a particular game 30 years prior. He was captivating and always so kind.

Coach Roy Williams, Woody Durham and Coach Larry Fedora

Coach Roy Williams, Woody Durham and Coach Larry Fedora

Shelley Day, longtime and newly retired Executive Director of RMHCH, recounts, “Woody and Jean played an instrumental role in making sure the ‘Ronald House’ as he called it, was built and over the years gave so generously of their time to make sure the House kept its doors open.  It didn’t matter what we asked of them, the answer was always, ‘yes, of course.’”

In 2009, Woody retired from the planning committee for the CKC, but remained ever invested and involved with the House.  Woody and Jean served as Honorary Chairs of the campaign to expand the Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill. In 2012, Woody created a collection of 25 of his most glorious moments as “Voice of the Tar Heels”  to raise money for the expansion of the House he helped create 25 years earlier. The collection was appropriately titled, “Woody Remembers.” Today, we remember and cherish the time we spent with Woody Durham.    

Woody and Jean Durham with their fountain at the House

Woody and Jean Durham with their fountain at the House, photo by David Gellaty

“Gracious, kind, smart and funny, Woody will always be in our hearts,” Day said. “I picture him now, reunited with ‘Coach,’ sharing stories, laughter and fond memories…with clear voices and clear minds once again.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Durham family during this most difficult time.  

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