Celebrating the life of Yvonne Woods

“With the passing of Yvonne Woods, we say farewell to a faithful partner and significant contributor to the story of Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship of Canada,”  says President Geri Rodman.

Yvonne, the widow of former Inter-Varsity Canada General Secretary C. Stacey Woods, died on Monday, April 7, 2014 at the age of 98. Throughout her life, she was actively committed to student ministry in Canada and around the world through the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES).

A memorial service will be held Tuesday, April 15 at Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, PA.  The service begins at 11 a.m. EST and can be viewed via podcast. Her remains will be buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto at a later date. For more details on the service scroll to the end of this story.

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Inter-Varsity Canada President Geri Rodman with Yvonne Woods at the 80th anniversary of the Canadian movement.

Yvonne Katherine Richie grew up in Toronto in a home where Inter-Varsity’s ministry was greatly supported.   Her mother, Joyce Ritchie, directed Girls’ Camp at Ontario Pioneer Camp and served on the camp committee in the 1930s. Inter-Varsity staff worker and Order of Canada recipient Cathie Nicholl lived with the Ritchies when both women were in their teens.

Yvonne was a student leader in Inter-Varsity’s University of Toronto chapter in the early 1930s, reporting to the board in 1934 that prayer meetings on campus continued even through exams. When Stacey fell in love with Yvonne, he offered to resign from his position as General Secretary, concerned that the organization would not be ready to support a married couple. The Inter-Varsity board quickly welcomed Yvonne as Stacey’s partner and refused his offer of resignation.

Yvonne and Stacey married in 1938, beginning a life-long partnership in student ministry. Stacey would often refer female students to his wife, believing it best that males be counselled and discipled by males and females by females. Together they led many students to Christ and mentored many more to faithful discipleship in Jesus Christ.

Even when Stacey and Yvonne left Canada, the couple continued to be connected and supportive of student ministry here.   When Stacey passed away in 1983, Yvonne continued her active interest and support of Inter-Varsity and IFES.

Yvonne rarely missed an opportunity to celebrate milestones and important events with Inter-Varsity in Canada. She was a special guest at both our 60th and 80th anniversaries and at the IFES World Assembly held in Canada in 2007.

When introducing Yvonne at the 6oth anniversary celebrations, Inter-Varsity Canada staffworker Cathie Nichol commented that the Woods’ “combined teamwork in the student field was just tremendous. Stacey would start one thing after another and he was ably supported by Yvonne.”

“With Yvonne’s death,” said Geri Rodman, “a chapter of our history, going almost back to the beginning of our ministry, comes to a close. But the legacy left by both Yvonne and Stacey continues today as we see young people committing their lives to Jesus Christ.”

Read a tribute from IFES General Secretary Daniel K. Bourdanné here.

For details on the memorial service, click here.




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