Celebrating Susan Woodie-Williams’ 40 years at Richfield

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 Photos by Meg Hibbert

At the June 1 reception in her honor, Susan Woodie-Williams, center, shares memories with Teresa Tice, left, a housekeeper who has worked at Richfield for 20 years, and Branda Ratcliffe, Certified Nursing Assistant, “who has worked with Susan for 30 years.”

From Social Worker to Senior Vice President, the heart of Richfield retires

Susan Woodie-Williams has seen almost every one of the buildings on the Richfield campus go up during her 40 years working at Richfield Living community.

Williams was celebrated as “the heart of Richfield” on June 1, the day she retired, when a heart-shaped team member award was established in her honor.

“We set up the Susan Woodie-Williams RISES Award with the hopes that she will have a hand in selecting future recipients,” said Richfield Living President and Chief Executive Officer George Child. The award will be presented annually to a deserving team member who exemplifies, like Susan, Richfield’s values: Respect, Integrity, Service, Excellence and Stewardship,” he explained.

The heart-shaped rock was selected because Williams is so good at finding and collecting heart-shaped rocks at the Maine home where her family vacations. That’s where she is headed after the reception with her mother, Joy Patten, “to give my mother my full attention this summer,” she said.

Williams, who was Senior Vice President, worked her way up from her starting job as a social service worker at what then was called McVitty House “when she was paid $3.50 an hour,” Child mentioned.

She advanced from Social Worker to Director of Social Services in three years, then Admissions Director, Administrator, Vice President of Marketing, Vice President of Assisted Living, and then Senior Vice President. “She developed the Richfield Living community’s brand,” Child pointed out.

What she was best at, co-workers at her reception said, in addition to leadership and camaraderie, was keeping up with Richfield Living residents and team members while being interested in all things Richfield. Many at the gathering mentioned Williams had hired them.

“If she sees something that needs doing, she’s going to do it,” said Tonya Woolwine, Executive and Corporate Secretary, who was one of those Williams hired.

Williams received the first Susan Woodie-Williams RISES award that will be presented to team members each year. The heart rock shape was selected because she collects heart-shaped rocks on the beach in Maine.

Said Debbie Conway, Administrator of The Oaks assisted living at Richfield, “There isn’t anything at Richfield that Susan hasn’t had a hand on.”

Conway was a nurse when the two met, and along with Williams, watched every building on the campus be built or revamped. The east wing of the tall building near the entrance on West Main Street, the Recovery and Care Center, was added on while the two have been there.

In accepting the surprise award named for her, Williams told the crowd, “I appreciate it more than you will ever know.” She mentioned when she got out of college she did not know what she wanted to do, and after spending a year with her parents who were medical missionaries in South Korea, she took what she thought might be a short-term job at Richfield.

“I never thought that I would want to work in senior living…Boy, did I find a passion,” she said.

Special guests at the reception were members of Williams’ family, including her mother, her husband Wayne, grandson Aiden Woodie, 11, and granddaughter Paisley, with Williams’ daughter-in-law, Kambrie Woodie.