LCDR Jay Woodruff, USN (July 2009)

Jay Lance Woodruff, husband of Tara M. (Gvodas) Woodruff, of Royersford, Pa., formerly of Bradenton, Fla., and Virginia Beach, Va., died at the age of 39 after only a three-week battle with leukemia on Tuesday evening, July 21, 2009.

Born in Freeport, he was the son of Michael Woodruff and the late Verla (Fairbairn) Woodruff.

Jay was a graduate of the Shore Crest Preparatory School in St. Petersburg, Fla., and of the United States Naval Academy. After the academy, Mr. Woodruff served as a United States Naval officer, until joining the reserves, having attained the rank of lieutenant commander.

Professionally, Jay had worked in the banking industry the last eight years. Most recently, he relocated his family from Florida, back to his wife Tara’s home town in Pennsylvania, where he joined Bank of America as their vice president, market performance manager in the Philadelphia-Bucks county areas.

In addition to his father and wife of 15 years, Jay is survived by his daughter, Natasha T. Woodruff; son, Nicholas A. Woodruff; brother, Kent Klemz, husband to Julie of Monroe, Mich.; and paternal grandmother, Joyce (Woodruff) Ripps, of Seminole, Fla.

Jay was a selfless and dedicated husband and father who always put the needs of his family first. No personal sacrifice was ever too great for Jay when it came to his family. He loved them completely in every way possible. His kindness and generosity were second to none.

Perhaps due to his military training at Annapolis, or the guidance he received from his grandmother, Jay was viewed by all as someone who could be called upon to help with anything anywhere — always arriving with dynamite smile, welcoming hug, a strong arm and a brilliant mind.

He was the compassionate “go to” guy for many people. Whether through deeds or words, Jay was always there to help, never asking for anything in return beyond friendship, acceptance, and love.

Jay came from a very small family, having only a half brother to call his own. However, over the last 15 years through his marriage to Tara, he quickly became an integral part, if not a cornerstone of a much larger family.

Tara’s mother and father, John and Mary Kay Gvodas Sr., her six brothers and sisters and their spouses and her 15 nieces and nephews all knew Jay as a brother, uncle and son. Being a part of the family unit was paramount to Jay. Everyone could see that he was on a quest to give back more than he received. Though outnumbered, he never gave up the fight — not with his love for his wife, his children (who he was immensely proud of), his extended family, and his co-workers.

Jay’s impeccable character, citizenship, compassion and generosity has touched so many of us. He will be deeply missed by all.