Joseph Woodhead

May 1, 1934October 18, 2010

Joseph Woodhead

1934 - 2010

Portland - Mr. Joseph Woodhead, age 76, longtime and well-known Lisbon High School Teacher and coach and Bates College coach, of East Grand Ave. in Old Orchard, passed away unexpectedly Monday morning October 18th upon arrival at Maine Medical Center. He was born in Lewiston May 1,1934, to Joseph A. and Mary F. (Joy) Woodhead. Joe was educated in Lewiston schools and graduated from Lewiston High School in 1953 where he was an outstanding athlete. A three-time letterman in both football and baseball, he was captain of the football team his senior year and was also chosen as an All-American lineman by the National High School Coaches Association. Following high school, Mr. Woodhead enlisted in the military and served his country in the U.S. Army, stationed in Germany for two years until his Honorable Discharge. After his service in the Army, he continued his education at Springfield College for three years, leaving his mark on both the football and track and field programs. He was an All-New England Honorable Mention in football and set the freshman college record for the Track and Field Hammer Throw in 1957.

He then transferred to The University of Maine at Orono where he met his future wife, Mary Ellen Tripp whom he married on August 11, 1962.They brought up their two boys in Lisbon Falls and enjoyed their summers at their camp on Woodbury Pond In Litchfield. In 1979 he moved his family to Lewiston where he was proud of his country home on 13 acres. When he moved to Old Orchard In his later years he built a screened in porch on the back of his house facing the marsh. One of his favorite pastimes was feeding and watching the birds with his “Kitty” beside him.

In the Fall of 1961 he was hired as a teacher by the Lisbon School system and for the next 33 years, he taught at Lisbon High School and served as the varsity football coach until 1986 where he won state championships in 1961,1968, 1971 and 1978. He amassed a record of 146 wins, 67 losses and 2 ties and suffered only two losing seasons in those 26 years placing him among Maine's Top-10 winningest high school football coaches. In 1986 he continued teaching four more years at Lisbon High School and took his coaching talents to Bates College and served as an assistant football coach for four years. That same year, in 1986, after nearly 30 years, at age 52, he began his long and successful tenure as the Bates College Hammer and Weight Throwing Events Coach for the Men’s' Track and Field team. In 1998 he was hired as the Women’s Throwing Events Coach as well and was still currently both the Men’s' and Women’s' coach, due to start another season next month. In his 26 year coaching career at Bates, he coached 44 athletes who went on to become Division III All-Americans and six athletes who won Division III National Championships. Among many other awards, he was inducted into the Auburn, Lewiston Hall of Fame in April of 2000.

He was a loving, devoted and hard-working husband, father and grandfather as well as a well-known, well-respected and successful athlete and coach who will be dearly missed by family and many longtime friends, colleagues and fellow athletes.

He leaves his wife of 48 years, Mary Ellen of Old Orchard Beach; two sons Michael and wife Elisabeth and their daughters Emma and Grace of Shenzhen-Shekou, China and Andrew and wife Angela and their daughters Kelsey and Brittany of Sidney, ME; two sisters Irene Parks of Newport Richie, FL and Beverly Schwab of Anacortes, WA; a sister-in-law Julie Boothby of Old Orchard Beach and several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by two brothers Harry and Robert.

Funeral Notice: Woodhead, Joseph 10/18/10. A Memorial Service to celebrate Coach Woodhead's life and career will take place in the chapel at Bates College on Mon. at 2:00PM with Rev. William Blaine-Wallace presiding. Private interment will take place in the family lot at Mt. Auburn Cemetery at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be given in Joseph's memory to the charity of your choice. You are invited to share your thoughts, condolences and fond memories with Coach Woodhead's family by visiting their guestbook at A service of The Fortin Group Funeral Home, Cremation and Monument Service, AUBURN, 783-8545.


  • Memorial Service Monday, October 25, 2010

Joseph Woodhead

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Jim Jellison

October 28, 2010

The athletes and coaches at Fitchburg State University send our condolences for Coach Woodheads family. Our athletes and coaches really enjoyed their time around the cages of New England and especially at Fitchburg listening to and learning from the comments of Coach Woodhead

Charlie Morton

October 27, 2010

As a fatherless athlete growing up in Lisbon I looked to the many great role models that our coaches and town leaders represented. Lisbon football is forever indebted Joe Woodhead. I remember him pointing with his index and pinky finger saying, "Charlie, this is your team now" then proceeding to whistle with those same two fingers to round up the troops. I loved Joe Woodhead and everything he respresented. From all of us on the 1979 MVC Championship team, I say RIP Coach. You meant so much to so many.

Charles Morton

October 26, 2010

When you remember after almost 40 years the exact moment you met someone, you know that person had a profound impact on your life. To this day I hear your voice when I need it most. Thanks Coach hardly seems enough to someone who's influence has lasted a lifetime. RIP my friend.

Spanky class of 70

October 26, 2010

Mary Ellen
I am so saddened. I can't imagine the void created in your heart with Joe's passing. Time will never heal the loss of his robust compainionship as your solemate, but comfort will come from having known and experienced his love. We all miss Joe!
Dana Mulholland

October 26, 2010

Dear Mary Ellen,

Roland and I want to extend our heartfelt condolences to you and your family at the sudden loss of your life's partner. Joe was so many things to so many people. The wonderful legacy that he leaves behind will be forever remembered by all his family, friends, students and athletes whom he has touched throughout his lifetime. In 1976, Roland and I, with our one year old son Neal, moved to Lisbon. Amongst the first people we met there was Joe Woodhead, whom was a proponent of Roland as both a Physical Education Teacher and Coach. During Roland's tenure with the Lisbon Recreation Department, Joe was always supportive of Roland's effort on behalf of the Town of Lisbon. I remember our son, Neal, saying how much he enjoyed having Coach Woodhead as his Physical Education Teacher at Lisbon High School from 1990-1994. Our lives have been enriched with the blessing of having known Joe during our lifetimes. Joe is certainly someone to emulate not only as a teacher or coach, but as a humanitarian. We hope your memories and life's experiences will give you and your family comfort in the days to come.


Carol and Roland Trottier, Poland, ME

Frank Myska

October 26, 2010

I will miss you coach. It was an honor to play for you. You not only taught us football, you also taught us the lessons needed to succeed in life.
R.I.P. Coach
Dr. Frank Myska, class of '70

David Cote

October 25, 2010

Coach...I will never forget your toughness and discepline in Lisbon High in 1970 but always admired your fairness and caring of each individual's mentoring...God is waiting for you at the goal line Coach....your Super Bowl victory bigger than life.....My prayers go out to your family, friends, students and all who knew you...Thank you Coach.....

Sara Ellen Godek

October 25, 2010

Coach, you have given so much to every life you have touched, and will be missed. I am honored to have been coached by you the past three years, senior year will definitely be different without you.

My prays go out to Coach's family and his "sweetheart" Mary Ellen.

October 24, 2010

"Coach" life and sport. Thank you.

Charlie Tebbets LHS'70

October 23, 2010

My thoughts go out to the Woodhead family at this difficult time. Coach was an inspiration to many throughout his years, not only on the fields but off. I love walking through the halls at Lisbon and getting a high five from him every time!! Rest in Peace Coach, you will be missed.

Jen Grondin LHS, 93