Charles P Woodbury - 1919-1996
Charles Putnam Woodbury was a man of vision. His forward thinking and blue collar work ethic helped him become one of northwest Florida’s most successful businessmen. He was also a man who loved his country as well as the military members who fought to protect it. He was a family man and a community leader who gave back generously. Few people in American history have been as devoted to their country and community as Charles P. Woodbury.
He was born in 1919 in Kansas City, MO. When he was only nineteen, Charles learned an early lesson about the value of life insurance when his father passed away prematurely. At the time of his father’s death, Charles was away at school in Arizona and was forced to move home to take care of his mother and four sisters.
Soon after World War II started, Mr. Woodbury decided to join the Navy as an aviation cadet. He later served in the Marines as a combat fighter pilot. When he left active duty, he remained in the military as a reservist until he retired as a Major after twenty years of service. During his time of service he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with Gold Stars, Purple Heart, Presidential Unit Citation with Bar and the Bronze Star, accompanied by various other theatre and campaign medals.
In 1946, he married Eleanor Gunn (also a Marine) and decided to settle in Pensacola, Florida, the home of Naval Aviation. He quickly became a leader in northwest Florida in both the insurance and banking fields, with a special interest in serving the needs of the military community. His insurance companies were among the founders of the Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI) and continue to serve as part of the underwriting group today.
He was a natural leader who was gifted at promoting citizenship and leadership for the young in his community and further enjoyed creating jobs for his community. Despite his many business ventures, he was also a volunteer fire fighter. He chartered the first Boy Scout troop ever in Warrington, Florida and later became chairman of the Gulf Coast Council. In 1960, his contributions to the community through business and civic affairs earned him the prestigious award of Florida’s first Northwest Business Man of the Year.
Charles Putnam Woodbury was a Marine, a pilot, a businessman, a community leader, a father, a husband and a Patriot and he excelled at each. Over the course of his lifetime, Mr. Woodbury positively affected the lives of thousands of people; and to this day, his companies and family continue to move forward with his selfless approach to helping our military get a little closer to realizing their dreams.