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1926 Olga 2019

Olga Onufer Woodward

February 25, 1926 — August 4, 2019

Olga Onufer Woodward, a life-long resident of Washington County, passed away on August 4, 2019.  Olga was born on February 25, 1926 to Daniel and Irene (Zubritsky) Onufer in North Charleroi, Pennsylvania.  She was the fourth of five daughters: her sisters, all of whom preceded her in death, were Nita Stofko, Pauline Sokol, Catherine Glotz, Anna Onufer, and Helen Dochinez.  A brother, John Onufer, died in infancy.

Olga attended local schools and graduated as the valedictorian of Charleroi High School, Class of 1944.  After graduation, she worked as a teller at the First National Bank in Charleroi, while taking night classes at the University of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Stenographic Institute.  After qualifying as a court reporter, she worked for the Allegheny County courts and then became a court reporter for Judge David H. Weiner and Judge P. Vincent Marino of the Washington County Court of Common Pleas.  Later, she became a realtor in partnership with the late James W. Hall in Charleroi.

She married John D. Woodward of Charleroi in 1956.  Mr. Woodward was the long-serving Washington County Recorder of Deeds.  Always active in her husband’s political campaigns, Olga took a leading role in state, county, and local politics.  She was the first woman elected to the Charleroi Borough Council in 1967.  Upon the unexpected death of her husband in May 1970, she was nominated by Governor Milton Shapp to fill his unexpired term.  

Olga served as Washington County Recorder of Deeds until 1989.  During her tenure, she earned praise from the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the other veterans’ groups for her work in safeguarding the privacy of veterans’ military records.  Olga, assisted by her deputy, Debbie Bardella, who succeeded her as Recorder, also played a leading role in modernizing business practices and preserving many important records, which were made available for future generations.  These included the “Court Record of Yohogania County, Virginia, 1776-1781 and the Negro (Slave) Register of Washington County, Pennsylvania from 1782 to 1851”.   (Washington County was part of Virginia until 1782.)  Recognizing the significance of these and other documents for historians and genealogists, she saved them from destruction and helped raise private funds to get the documents restored.  The records have since been digitized and made available on the Internet by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.  Olga served as the President of the Pennsylvania Recorder of Deeds Association.  She also became the first woman to serve as Chairman of the Democratic Party of Washington County.

In her active retirement, Olga served for four years on the Washington County Board of Assessment Appeals in the 1990s.  She served as a Fallowfield Township Supervisor from 2004 to 2014 and was a member of the board of directors of the Mid Mon Valley Transit Authority.  Deeply impressed with the sacrifices firefighters make for the community, she volunteered her time for the Fallowfield Township Volunteer Fire Company, the Lock Four Volunteer Fire Company, and the Charleroi Volunteer Fire Company.  She also supported Waynesburg University, and many churches and charitable organizations.  She regularly baked, cooked, and knitted scarves for charity fundraisers.  Her candy earned her blue ribbons at several Washington County fair competitions.

She and her husband had a son, John D. Woodward Jr., an attorney and professor of international relations at Boston University, Boston, MA. Survivors include John, his wife Shirley, along with many nieces and nephews.  

At Olga’s request, funeral services were private.

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