Charles F. Woodward obituary

Contact: Jeanne Baron
Photo of Charles F. Woodward.

Charles F. Woodward

Charles F. Woodward, Western Michigan University assistant professor emeritus of industrial and manufacturing engineering, died Dec. 12 at home in Kalamazoo. He was 81.

Woodward joined the WMU faculty in 1966 and retired in 1996 after 30 years of service to the University. He was part of a team of WMU faculty members who developed an award-winning, child-resistant cap for pill bottles that was patented by the major pharmaceutical manufacturer Glaxo Inc. in 1993.

In response to a growing number of older people disabling child-safety packaging, the U.S. Product Safety Commission had three universities redesign existing drug packaging so it would continue to be difficult for children to open but be easier for adults, especially senior citizens, to open. It was the WMU team's design idea was selected by the commission for further development.

Charles F. Woodward

Woodward earned a bachelor's degree from WMU in 1959 and a master's degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1971.

He began his professional career working in various capacities at several manufacturing companies in Flint and Kalamazoo while pursuing his bachelor's degree. After graduating, he stayed in the business sector until 1961, when he began teaching high school.

Woodward taught for four years, then entered graduate school. One year into his graduate studies, he joined WMU as an advisor for a contracted project with the U.S. Agency for International Development to develop a technical college in Ibadan, Nigeria.

Woodward lived in Nigeria with his family until the project was successfully completed in 1968, then returned to WMU and built his higher education teaching career at the University.


Cremation has taken place. A public memorial service will be held at a later date.


Visit to make a memorial guestbook entry.

Memorial gifts may be made to the West Michigan Cancer Center or a charity of choice.