Wilbur J. Woodbury Sr., a longtime resident of Albuquerque, NM, went home to the Lord on Saturday, May 9, 2020 at the age of 87.
He was preceded in death by his children Gail Griffith and Gary Woodbury.
Wilbur’s is survived by his loving children: Wilbur Jr. Woodbury of Albany, NY; Beverly; Steven Woodbury of Rio Rancho, NM; Carolyn Newton and husband James of Los Lunas, NM; and Jerome Kaseem Thomas, son of the late Marylou Bradley-Thomas, and wife Latoya of Florida.
Wilbur’s Legacy continues through his grandchildren; Christopher Griffith and wife Nicole of Rio Rancho, NM; Amy Newton of Arizona; Jonathan Griffith and Ciara Griffith of Albuquerque, NM; Diana Newton of Los Lunas, NM; Christina Mercedes Woodbury of New Mexico; Jaleeka Woodbury of New York; Juan Woodbury and his wife Cora of Illinois; Ryan Woodbury and wife Shayla of Oregon; and Chenia, Andrew Woodbury of Nevada.
The gift of Wilbur’s life will be kept alive through his great-grandchildren; Taliyha, Shamier, Alyasir, Yasim (NY); Jakahla, Iauna, Saniya (NV) Tyler and Tristen Griffith (NM); Damaris and Graysen Woodbury (IL) and newborn Violet Hana Newton (AZ);
Wilbur’s memory lives on through his brother Charles Woodbury Sr. and his family Charles Woodbury Jr. of Grants, NM; Cheryl Anderson and husband Glen of California; and several other nieces and nephews.
In his passing, Wilbur leaves behind a host of relatives who will forever cherish him.
Wilbur attended St. Phillips Catholic Elementary School in Albany, NY. He would briefly attend Skyler High School, later graduating from Albany High. An avid athlete, Wilbur participated in football, baseball, track & field, and boxing. Wilbur excelled in his athletic achievements, and some of his high school records remain unbroken to this present day.
Following his high school graduation, Wilbur became a Golden Globe Boxing Champion and later a boxing mentor. The late “Sugar Ray Robinson” (International Hall of Fame Middleweight Boxing Champion, 1940-1965) worked closely with Wilbur and taught how to box. Wilbur was also a semi-pro athlete for Minor League Baseball and was recruited by the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Detroit Tigers. Unfortunately, he decided not to continue his semi-pro baseball career due to having become a very devoted husband and father.
Before leaving Albany, Wilbur was heavily involved in the Civil Rights Movement, becoming an activist for equality and peace for an organization called “The Brothers.” Wilbur also worked many years for the Albany Montgomery Wards and in 1969, he was approved for an in-company transfer to California. While en route to Los Angeles, he settled down in Albuquerque in with his children. In Albuquerque, while raising his children, he set the precedent for single fathers to receive government assistance in the State of New Mexico.
Wilbur went on to receive an associate degree from Browning Business College (TVI/CNM) in Albuquerque.
While assuring that his children received a good education through Albuquerque Catholic Schools, Wilbur became very active singing in the choirs at St. Francis Xavier Parish and Immaculate Conception Church. He came to serve as Choir Director alongside his son Steven at Immaculate Conception Church. He immensely love playing his large Album collection of Motown, Musicals and Classical Choral Music. Additionally, he was once again very active as a teaching assistant to the late Bob Foster (Lightweight Boxing Champion) at the East San Jose Community Center in Albuquerque. Furthermore, he coached many young men in football and baseball, alongside with many of the neighborhood girls and boys in softball and tennis in the local neighborhood parks. Wilbur will always be remembered for hosting his delicious homemade holiday barbeques, where he loved to entertain his family, friends, and neighbors.
Wilbur’s Life Celebration will begin with a Rosary to be recited on Thursday, May 28, 2020 at 10:00 am at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church located at 1502 Sara Rd, Rio Rancho, NM 87124. Mass will begin at 10:30 am also at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church. Burial will follow at Vista Verde Memorial Park located at 4310 Sara Road SE
Rio Rancho, NM 87124.
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