By Shawn Regan
Kevin Woodman, a 19-year veteran of the Groveland Police Department and longtime director of Haverhill's Junior Football League, died Sunday following a short illness.
Groveland Police Chief Robert Kirmelewicz said Woodman had been on sick leave since the middle of June.
"We are all shocked and saddened by the sudden and unexpected passing of Officer Woodman," Kirmelewicz said. "Officer Woodman was a dedicated officer, and his absence will be greatly noticed. Our prayers and condolences go out to his family from all members of the Groveland Police Department."
Efforts to reach Woodman's family were unsuccessful.
Woodman, 57, grew up and lived in Haverhill, where he played and was an assistant coach for the high school football team in the 1990s.
For the last eight years Woodman has been director of Haverhill's Junior Football League, a city-run competitive league for children in grades five to eight.
"I approached him eight years ago about needing some help with our youth football program and he immediately volunteered and has done a great job," Haverhill's Human Service Director Vincent Ouellette said. "Kevin had a unique ability to help kids of all abilities and desires and make football appealing and fun."
Ouellette said he was shocked and saddened to learn of his friend's death.
"Losing a colleague and a friend is always difficult," Ouellette said, adding that Woodman enjoyed exercising and was always in great physical shape.
As a teenager, Ouellette said he remembers watching Woodman play football at Haverhill High and that Woodman graduated with his older brother.
"He was one of the smaller guys on the football field back then, but there was nobody tougher or more dedicated," Ouellette said. "Everybody respected Kevin. He will be sorely missed."
Woodman also coached high school football in Amesbury and at Central Catholic in Lawrence.
James Morton, president of the Groveland patrolman's union, did not return a phone call.
Brian Farmer, funeral director for H.L. Farmer & Sons in Haverhill, said he did not yet have complete arrangements last night.
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