In Celebration of

Russell T. Woodman

July 18, 1943 -  December 7, 2021


Russell was born on July 18, 1943 in Talara, Peru, to Walter James Woodman of Toronto & Nora Wensjoe Woodman of Lima, Peru. Russell had an interesting life! Because his father, Walter J. Woodman worked for International Petroleum in Talara, his formative years and those of his older brother, Walter Jr. were spent there attending the staff school in preparation for the years the brothers spent as boarders at Upper Canada College. He graduated from the University of Miami, with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1965. After living in Florida with his parents and brother, Russell decided to join the family firm, P.G. Thornley Co. in Toronto. He took a brief leave from the company to take Post Graduate studies in Economics & Computer Science at The University of Guelph, Ontario, in 1967-68 and then rejoined the firm after completion of those studies.

In 1972 the P. G. Thornley Co. was sold and Russell joined Hiram Walker & Sons becoming one of their youngest employees , and their first Brand Manager for such brands as Jameson Irish Whiskey, Cointreau, Ballantine's Scotch and Maker's Mark Bourbon. Increased responsibility within the Walker organization took place resulting in Russell's appointment to Vice President of the Wines and Fine Spirits Portfolio of Hiram Walker & Sons.

In the intervening years, Russell and his wife Christine had two children, Jason and Rachel. Russell started his own company, Woodman Wines & Spirits in 1991 here in Toronto. Over 30 years the Company has grown to represent over 60 International and Domestic producers of Fine Wines & Spirits with Jason and Rachel taking the leading roles in their ongoing development of products and brands that have appeal in the Canadian marketplace.

Having travelled widely both personally with Christine, Jason and Rachel, but also through his family connection with South America and his many, many connections throughout the world of wine and spirits, Russell has many friends. Up until this day, Russell was an active member of the Granite Club, the Royal Canadian Yacht Club and for many years was an active member of The Rotary Club of Toronto. Everyone appreciated Russell's smile, his gentlemanly manner, and his sense of humour.

Russell will be missed most of all by his wife, Christine, son Jason and his wife Lara (nee Pillon) and their two daughters Ella Jane and Beatrice Anne Woodman. Russell will also be greatly missed by their daughter Rachel and her husband Luke Roberts, and their son, Luke Russell Roberts. It goes without saying Russell will also be missed by his extended family on three continents and his multitude of friends!

Friends may call at the Turner & Porter Yorke Chapel, 2357 Bloor St. W., Toronto, on Sunday December 12th from 11 to 2 p.m. Funeral Service to be held in the Chapel on Monday, December 13, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, it is necessary to provide proof of vaccinations and photo identification to attend the visitation and funeral service, reception to follow. Private family interment. If desired, donations may be made to a local food bank.


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David Spence, C.M. (Oldest friend)

Entered December 10, 2021 from London, Ontario

When we were 10 years old, in Talara, Peru, Russell and I walked to school together every morning. His house was just behind ours, on the way to school. I would stop in to his home to pick him up, watching with disgust as he put ketchup on his eggs. His endearing smile and manner made him my mother's favourite, and she was not easy to please. We lost touch for many years, and I was very grateful that Russell reached out to reconnect at the time of my father's death, some 30 years ago. I will miss him.

Barbara McCracken (Friend)

Entered December 10, 2021 from Newmarket

Sad to hear of Russell ‘s passing. I have worked in the wine and spirits industry for fifty years and our paths crossed many times. I always liked Russell for the genuine man that he was. Rest In Peace, my friend.

Janie Irvine (friends)

Entered December 10, 2021 from Midhurst, Ontario

I know I am joining a long list of friends who knew Russell to be very charming gentleman, so proud of his family. We were all so blessed to have known Russell.
I am so sorry for your loss of such a wonderful accomplished respected man. Russell's infuence will continue to shine through Jason, Rachel and his grandchildren and touch those who were privileged to have known him.

Nancy Herding (Friend)

Entered December 10, 2021 from Toronto

Sorry for your loss, condolences to you and your family, thinking of you at this difficult time.

Trevor Burnett (Friend and colleague)

Entered December 10, 2021 from Toronto

While working with Russell, I saw first hand his professional approach to his business and the gold standard he set for everyone. What I will remember most fondly was the kindness he shared with my children whenever I brought them to the office for an impromptu visit as well as his compassion and patience with all of us irrespective of the circumstances that our day to day lives were presented with.


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