Rochester News-Sentinel



A former Richland township resident now of South Bend, committed suicide and her bewildered four year old son laid his head on his mother's breast in the gas filled kitchen of their home early Saturday morning to join her in the death she intended to spare for her two children.

It was there that Hubert WOODCOX found his wife, Theodora [WOODCOX], 27, and his son, Hubert Wayne [WOODCOX], when he returned to their little home near South Bend after finishing his night shift at Studebaker aviation plant Saturday morning.
In a bedroom with a window open, slept the daughter, Ladora Gail WOODCOX, 6, who was rushed to the Epworth hospital in South Bend for emergency treatment and released soon after.
A note in the lifeless hand of the mother told the tragic story. Suffering from an illness that dated back to an automobile accident more than a year ago in which Mrs. Woodcox received a neck injury; the mother had put her children to bed, carefully covered the space under the hall door with a rug that was used to keep the fumes from the children.


Then she wrote the note to her husband.  She said she hoped the children would not breathe the gas.  It was 1:30 a.m., she said in the note, when she became very tired and wanted "to rest."
But the son, Hubert Wayne, awoke at his usual early hour Saturday morning and went in search of his mother. He found her lying on the floor of the gas-filled kitchen.  Apparently drowsy from the fumes, the little tot lay down by his mother with his head on her breast.  There Mr. Woodcox found him, his body still warm, when he came from work.
Ladora's longer sleep apparently saved her life, the open window in the bedroom protecting that area from the gas.

Mr. Woodcox told of a previous attempt by the mother to take her life in the same manner.  Then, he said, the gas made her ill before she lost consciousness and she turned off the gas and went to bed.  This time the six burners on the stove poured forth fumes until the husband came home.
Mrs. Woodcox was born on a farm north of Rochester November 17th, 1913, one of triplets.  She moved to South Bend from Rochester in the spring of 1937.  Last April 1 the couple celebrated their ninth anniversary. Mr. Woodcox is the son of Mrs. Sam WENGER of this city who was notified of the tragedy.  Mrs. Woodcox has a number of relatives in this community [Fulton County].   For several years Mr. and Mrs. Woodcox lived on a farm south of Richland Center before moving to South Bend to reside.

Mrs. Woodcox is survived, in addition to her husband and daughter, by her mother, Mrs. Maine STICHLER, of South Bend; three sisters, Mrs. Margaret STEININGER, Chain O' Lakes; Mrs. Alice O'DELL, Mishawaka, and Miss Charlotte STICHLER, of Battle Creek, Mich.; a brother, Theodore [STICHLER], one of the triplets, of Argos.  The third child of the triplets died shortly after birth.
The son, Hubert Wayne, was born in South Bend October 27, 1938.
The bodies were moved to the Forest G. Hay home in South Bend where they will lie in state. Funeral arrangements are incomplete.