John Frederick Woodhouse, chairman and CEO of Sysco Corp., passed away Oct. 29.

Woodhouse started his career with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in Toronto. Subsequent positions were with the Ford Motor Co. and as the treasurer of Cooper Industries. He joined Sysco Corp. at its formation in 1969 as chief financial officer and a founding director, ultimately becoming chairman and CEO. Under his leadership, Sysco grew to be a multibillion dollar foodservice distributor. He also served as a director of several large corporations, but in recent years, focused on non-profits and educational institutions.

He served Wesleyan as a trustee (16 years) and continued to serve on their development committee. His leadership efforts on behalf of Wesleyan were recognized with an honorary doctorate and an alumni medal of honor. He was also a Presbyterian Elder and was currently vice chairman of the board of the Presbyterian Mo-Ranch Assembly.

Woodhouse is survived by his wife of 57 years, Marilyn (Lyn) Morrow Woodhouse; son John Woodhouse II and his wife Deborah; daughter Marjorie Ann Woodhouse-Purdy and her husband R. Scott Purdy; as well as three grandchildren—William C. Purdy II, Demaris Lyn Purdy and John Woodhouse. He is also survived by his brother Robert Woodhouse and his wife Barbara.

Services will be held at St. Thomas Presbyterian Church, 14100 Memorial Drive, Houston, TX 77079 at 11 a.m. on Nov. 10. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Thomas Presbyterian Church, the Presbyterian Mo-Ranch Assembly, 2229 FM 1340, Hunt, TX 78024-3037, the American Lung Association, 2030 North West Loop West, Suite250, Houston, TX 77008, or online at