Bears ‘N Friends owner Lisa Wooding died April 6 after fighting a long, lingering infection. A memorial was held April 21 in her home town of Anacortes, Washington. In lieu of flowers, her family asked for donations to the Anacortes Relay for Life’s Team Malson/Wooding, which Wooding had started with her mother, Kaaren Wooding Malson. Relay for Life raises money for the American Cancer Society, and according to Lisa Wooding’s obituary, published in the Skagit Valley Herald, she was a top fundraiser in the event for many years.
Wooding started her first business at age 10, when she took orders for her handmade macramé plant hangers to earn extra money. After graduating from Washington State University, she became partners in Bears ’N Friends in La Conner, Wash., with Loralta Welk in the early ’90s. After a couple of years, Wooding became the sole owner of the company.
“Lisa Wooding loved her bears and had the biggest collection of bears out of anyone I know or will ever meet,” said Stephanie Rustad, Bears ’N Friends’ website manager. “She was able to achieve an item on her bucket list by attending the Steiff festival in Germany last year by herself, despite her health issues. Her store has been open for over 30 years, and she loved being there and spending time talking with customers and friends about her bears.”
Many of Wooding’s customers and friends have posted their favorite memories of her at the Bears ‘N Friends Facebook page. Our condolences go out to Lisa Wooding’s family and friends; we will miss her.