Cover photo for Howard J. Woods, Jr.'s Obituary
Howard J. Woods, Jr. Profile Photo
1955 Howard 2023

Howard J. Woods, Jr.

October 11, 1955 — September 17, 2023

East Brunswick

Howard J. Woods, Jr., a highly respected consulting engineer for the water and wastewater industry, passed away peacefully at his home in East Brunswick, New Jersey surrounded by the two greatest loves of his life, his wife and daughter.

Howard was born on October 11, 1955, in Elizabeth, New Jersey where he grew up. He later moved to Cranford during high school (Oratory Prep in Summit where still holds the record for the 100-meter hurdles) and Philadelphia after graduating from his beloved Villanova University.  

At a very young age Howard showed an exceptional acumen for "fixing things". When he was seven he asked his grandmother if he could try to fix a family heirloom grandfather clock that hadn’t worked in over 60 years. Much to her amazement, he did, and it still ticks on to this day! Howard’s passion and innate talent for engineering coupled with his dedication and hard work led him to graduate third in his class at Villanova, where he also served as Vice President of the Student Government Association. To this day, Howard is remembered as an esteemed member of Villanova’s Caritas Society and former member of the Strategic Planning Council for the School of Engineering.

Throughout his career, Howard made significant contributions to the water and wastewater industry. His career began with the EPA after graduating from Villanova where he and his fellow young colleagues were tasked to enforce the policies and rules of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Before becoming the youngest executive at the time at American Water, Howard was a consulting engineer in Maryland with the United States Navy as his client. Being a consultant for the Navy was a tremendous honor for Howard as his family’s Naval lineage dates to the Civil War with a cousin who served as the head of Naval operation during the Civil War and ending with his father’s service on the USS Bennington during World War II. Howard maintained the family’s loyalty to the US Navy by his sponsorship of the Blue and Gold Society and fanatic attendance to the annual Army-Navy football game.

Although his career at American Water was storied with among his many accomplishments as the man who finally made the decades-long awaited Delran Water Treatment Plant come to fruition, Howard left American to return to consulting engineering as the owner of Howard J. Woods, Jr. & Associates, where he worked tirelessly on many water and wastewater projects, but also insured equity to rate payers in every socioeconomic class throughout the tri-state area multiple states. Howard’s devotion to the water and wastewater community and his impact on his peers and young professionals merited Howard the highest honor of the American Water Works Association (AWWA) as the recipient of, The George Warren Fuller Award for “Distinguished service to the water supply field in commemoration of the sound engineering skill the brilliant diplomatic talent and the constructive leader ship that characterize the life of George Warren Fuller”.  Additionally, in recognition of his lifetime contributions to the organization, the Board of Trustees recently renamed the annual Fall conference to the Howard J. Woods Jr. Annual Fall conference & Golf Outing, which contributes to the Howard J. Woods Jr. Scholarship program. Howard’s leadership and breadth of knowledge, earned him a position on New Jersey’s governor appointed Water Supply Advisory Council through several administrations.

While Howard was highly accomplished in his professional life, he remained a humble individual who only saw himself as a guy who loved his job. But in fact, when considering his career with the EPA, American Water, his contributions to AWWA through the committees he served and chaired and the peers and young professionals he mentored, plus his 23 years in his private consulting engineering practice, the guy who loved his job, positively impacted the lives of hundreds of millions of people across the United States. His colleagues describe him as a man with unwavering passion and an unwavering commitment to making this world a better place.

Outside of work, Howard had several interests that brought great joy to his life. Howard has often stated that his life truly began when Robyn and Olivia became part of his family. Howard delighted in traveling with his wife and daughter along with their dogs on road trips and family vacations, and reveled in mentoring and gently guiding Olivia, who remained his constant companion to the very end of his life. As a devoted parishioner and active parent of St. Bartholomew RC Church and School in East Brunswick, he actively participated in various school activities including the school’s recent spring musical. Howard also volunteered as a Girl Scout Cookie Dad, consulted for the Service Units’ first robotics team, and assisted in many of the activities and events with his daughter’s Troop, which earned him the honor of being, “Man enough to be a Girl Scout”. Additionally, Howard was an active member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Navy’s Blue and Gold Club and sponsor of the American Fireman’s Association, VFW, and the ASPCA.

Beyond his professional and volunteer pursuits, Howard cherished time spent with his family and friends. He valued their presence in his life immensely and created lasting memories with them. Howard leaves behind a legacy of love and compassion that will be carried on by those who knew and loved him.

Howard is survived by his beloved wife Robyn (Schmelter) Woods, daughter Olivia, sister Carol Dicovitsky (Greg) of Calabash, NC, two nephews Greg (Dorothy) and Paul (Jessica), as well as three great nieces and Lina, Sasha, and Evva, and nephew Tony. He is predeceased by his dear parents Howard J. Woods and Catherine (Hurring) Woods.

Visitation for family and friends will take place on Sunday, September 24th, from 1:00 - 5:00 pm, at The Crabiel Home for Funerals, 170 North Main Street - at Riva Avenue in Milltown, New Jersey.  A Mass to celebrate Howard's life will be held on Monday, September 25th, 10:00 am, at St. Bartholomew RC Church, 470 Ryders Ln in East Brunswick, New Jersey.  Cremation will be private.

Howard J. Woods, Jr. will forever be remembered for his remarkable achievements and the positive impact he made on the lives of those around him. His generosity, compassion, expertise, and great love for his family, will continue to inspire others.

May his soul rest in eternal peace.


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Service Schedule

Past Services


Sunday, September 24, 2023

1:00 - 5:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Funeral Mass

Monday, September 25, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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