Thursday, June 20, 2013

UTHSC Southwestern Medical School 30 year reunion tribute written by Lisa's dear friend and classmate, Cynthia Fowler, MD....spring 2013

Lisa Ellen Woody, in memoriam by Cynthia Fowler Nicknamed “Ma” by Scott Turpin freshman year, Lisa Woody was someone you noticed. She was funny and fun, with a smile and a laugh that drew people to her. She was six feet tall and beautiful. Lisa and I lived together during medical school in a duplex 3 blocks from Greenville Avenue and the bar, Snuffers, where she worked as a waitress during college (SMU) and early years at SWMS. In many ways we were the odd couple. Lisa saw the world in absolute terms, black and white. She was energetic and sociable. She was on time, even early. She could cook. She was neat and organized. She got up every morning and made her bed. When I moved in she warned me that sometimes she would be compelled to scrub the baseboards, but with a laugh said she did not expect me to share her compulsion! Our house became a gathering place for fellow classmates. We held an annual Christmas ornament party. A few surviving ornaments are on my tree each year. She had a cute dog that for some reason known only to her she named Sleezy. She played the piano. She was an accomplished seamstress. She made a gorgeous wedding gown for Jan Elder in the middle of medical school! (And 25 years later she made the wedding dress for her eldest daughter.) She made beautiful silk shirts for many of her friends. She had a great piecrust recipe. Quiche and apple pies were staple fare at our house. Lisa’s hometown was Albuquerque, one of my favorite places on earth. She took me home for a magical weekend during the annual Balloon Fiesta. What fun to see the balloons take off in the crisp desert morning and then eat Indian fry bread. Lisa’s family was like her, gracious and welcoming. Lisa was a good student and teachers loved her. Lisa’s favorite parts of medical school were the clinical years. During our fourth year, she traveled all over the country doing rotations, looking for that perfect place to do a residency. Her plans to intern at Bellvue Hospital in New York City were derailed when her brother Bruce was killed in a hang gliding accident. She went home to Albuquerque to be with her family. She worked for a few months as a medical consultant at a law firm specializing in defending physicians in medical malpractice suits. Within a year she had started a residency at University of New Mexico Hospital. She went on to practice Occupational Medicine, living mainly in Chicago and Connecticut. Lisa married three times, with the third being the charm. Robert was the love of her life. She had four children with her second husband Ron. In early 2008, soon after the marriage of her eldest daughter, she sought medical care for back pain. Work up revealed metastatic adenocarcinoma of the lung. She was 49 years old when she got the diagnosis. She moved quickly through the tears and the anger. She faced her diagnosis with courage and grace, humor and humility. She became active in the National Lung Cancer Partnership and appeared on the Rachael Ray show. She did everything she could to beat the disease, then to keep it at bay, then finally, to let go. She wrote a blog, “What’s Up with the Doc”, to keep friends and family updated. 85 postings with pictures document her journey. The blog has been archived and I urge you to take a look ( You will find her obituary there as well. Lisa died on Martin Luther King Day 2010. She was a good doctor, a devoted mom, a loving wife, sister, and daughter, and a good friend. She pops into my head at odd moments: when I quilt, when I pick up the knitting needles, when I see a hot air balloon, when I eat apple pie, when I wear silk, on those rare occasions when I make the bed. I wish we had more time together. I would have liked her company and support in navigating mid-life and beyond. I am grateful for the time we had and I am a better person for having had her in my life. Carpe diem Lisa, where ever you are!