M. Cabell Woodward, a 54-year resident of Rye, New York, passed away courageously and peacefully on October 26, 2019 after medical complications from a fall. He was 90 years old.
A distinguished business leader, revered colleague, and friend, his warmth, personality, intelligence, and humor drew admiration and friendship across the globe. A former CFO of the ITT Corporation in the 1980s and 1990s and a CEO of the Continental Baking Company in the 1970s, Mr. Woodward displayed exceptional business, financial, and common sense throughout his life. His belief that strong companies begin with respected leadership at the top led to his being a most sought-after board member by numerous corporations, including Capital Cities/ABC, Black and Decker, and the Melville Corporation.
Mr. Woodward was a longtime member of the Apawamis and Manursing Island clubs in Rye and the Blind Brook Club in Purchase, where he served in many capacities. He later joined the USSGA (United States Seniors Golf Association) where he formed wonderful friendships, was elected a President, and received the highly acclaimed William Campbell Award. He demonstrated personal integrity, a love of the game of golf and competition and the belief in the pursuit of fine character through sports.
Born in Pittsburgh, Pa., on January 29, 1929, Cab was the firstborn son of Anne Snowden Cary and M. Cabell Woodward Jr. His family then relocated to New Rochelle, New York, where his leadership, academic skills, and athletic talents were first identified. Voted most likely to succeed in his senior year at New Rochelle High School, Cab Woodward was president of the student body and captain of the football and basketball teams. His character and values, however were equally influenced by his years at Camp Dudley, the oldest boys’ YMCA camp in the country. There, he learned the lessons of honorable actions, “the other fellow first”, and building diversity in community. At age 15, he was Dudley’s youngest leader, managing 8-12 boys. The counselors claimed that it was his height and maturity that landed him the job. Yet, he often joked that “no one else was available because of the war, so they were stuck with me”.
Cab Woodward’s sense of humor was a joy to all who came in contact with him. His storytelling, whether at meetings, meals, or podiums, was proof of his gift as a great communicator.
His education at Dudley and New Rochelle High School propelled him to Princeton University, where he received a BA in History in 1951. After graduating, he was called to duty with the US Marine Corps, eventually attaining the rank of Captain. While stationed at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, he went on a blind date with Helen Boushee of Wilmington, N.C.
After the Woodwards were married, they moved to New York City, where Cab’s illustrious finance career began at Hanover Bank. While impressing management in the daytime, he pursued an MBA at NYU at night, while occasionally selling pots and pans to housewives in his apartment complex when he wasn’t busy enough. (His good looks proved beneficial in sales!)
In 1961, Mr. Woodward was made an Assistant Treasurer at the Continental Baking Company in Harrison, New York, where he quickly rose in position. In 1969, at age 40, he was named the company’s youngest President. Two years later, he became CEO.
In 1978, he joined the ITT Corporation as an Executive Vice President and CFO, a few years after Continental was acquired. He remained Vice Chairman at ITT until his retirement in 1993.
Returning to his passions in the golden years, Mr. Woodward became involved again in providing scholarships for underprivileged children, and played paddle tennis, bridge, and golf in his spare time. He would also frequent weekly lacrosse and basketball games and wrestling matches, rooting his grandsons to victory and watching dance recitals for his granddaughter. At age 84, Cab Woodward was honored once again with the Camp Dudley “Man of the Year Award”, given for a lifetime of accomplishment, strength of character, and always promoting “the other fellow first”.
Cab and Helen Woodward were married for 46 years. Mrs. Woodward died in June 2000. Their oldest daughter, Margaret, died earlier this year. Mr. Woodward is survived by his cherished daughter and son-in-law, Anne Boucher and husband Jeb of Harrison, N.Y.; four adoring grandchildren, Hayden Boucher of New York City, Peter Boucher (partner Jennie) of Larchmont, N.Y., Cary Boucher of Denver, Colo., and Katherine Kiarsis (husband Jeff) of Port Chester, N.Y. He is also survived by his only brother, Cary Woodward of Baltimore, Md. and his wife, Peggy; two nieces, Clarkson Woodward and Marshall Woodward; and a great-grandson, Miles Boucher. His longtime companion, April Vehslage, also survives him.
The family would like to thank all those local establishments that made Cab Woodward’s life so joyful in his later years: Poppy’s, On the Way Café, Belluschio’s, Alba’s, Town Dock, and Polpos.
A private family burial will take place at Greenwood Union Cemetery in Rye, with a spring 2020 memorial service and date to be determined. Donations in Cab Woodward’s memory may be made toward promoting veterans’ health and readjustment after service or toward the development of opportunity in underprivileged youth.