Family, friends, drivers mourn Ottawa bus crash victim David Woodard

SEE VIDEO http://www.ottawasun.com/2013/10/02/family-friends-drivers-mourn-ottawa-bus-crash-victim-dave-woodard

The friendly OC Transpo bus driver behind the wheel of the deadly collision with a Via train was laid to rest among a sea of green, brightening the crowd of an estimated 1,500 people at the Metropolitan Bible Church on Wednesday afternoon.

A number of mourners wore David Woodard’s favourite colour, while others wore shorts; Woodard’s preference.

His death leaves “a hole forever created in my heart,” said younger brother Steve Woodard, in tears.

Woodard, 45, was celebrated as a giver, always offering a hand — from taking care of an ill passenger to handing over a spoon so a colleague could have dinner.

“He smiled at everybody,” including strangers, said Steve Woodard, urging attendees to do the same.

Tributes made during the service emphasized Woodard’s fun-loving nature and devotion to his family and even the homeless, rather than the Sept. 18 crash in which a full OC Transpo bus crashed into a Via train at Fallowfield station, killing Michael Bleakney, Connor Boyd, Karen Krzyzewski, Rob More, Kyle Nash, and Woodard.

Services for the five passengers were held last week.

Woodard’s service, exactly two weeks following the crash, was filled with music and laughter — fitting for a man who loved a good time.

Daughter Rebecca Woodard and step-sons Martin and Marc Leury wrote of great memories with their father, filled with road trips, baseball, and karaoke.

“We just want to say thank you for making us who we are today,” said Martin ‘Marty’ Leury, reading letters on his siblings’ behalf, as Rebecca buried her face in Marc’s shoulder before all three children embraced.

Wife Terry and mother Evelene did not speak.

Friend Blair Bisson described Woodard as “a true role model for mankind.”

Woodard was “meticulous about everything that he did,” said Bisson, adding he was never one to cut corners and always chose the right way.

He shared a memory of Woodard having to be the last one to bed when camping “so he could pee on the fire,” prompting laughter.

Woodard’s coffin, covered in mostly pink flowers, was surrounded by bouquets and a wreath.

Even riders, who brought Woodard cookies and cards “because of how he cheered them up,” are grieving, said Pastor Daniel Winter.

To Transpo customers, Woodard wasn’t just a driver — he was their driver, said manager of operations Troy Charter.

The Transportation Safety Board continues investigating.

kelly.roche@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @ottawasunkroche

http://www.ottawasun.com/2013/10/02/family-friends-drivers-mourn-ottawa-bus-crash-victim-dave-woodard

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