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Memorial Celebrates Life of FBI Agent

By Joyce Tse
Special to The Lookout

February 4 -- Wendy Woskoff, an FBI agent who took her life in her Santa Monica apartment last month, was remembered at a memorial service Thursday as a tiny but tough agent with a "wacky" sense of humor.

The 200 fellow officers, family and friends who filled the Skirball Cultural Center auditorium recalled a self-described "Jewish American Princess" who took herself lightly, but was dead serious about a job dedicated to catching the bad guys and saving the victims.

"She was whenever, wherever, whatever," said Scott Garriola, using the first and last letters of Woskoff's name to describe how she was always available. "She was wacky at times, wild at times, warm some of the time and wonderful all the time."

The 5' 2" Woskoff could shoot with the best of them and do more pushups than her larger more muscular colleagues, fellow agents recalled. She was also a mean driver who once tracked down a crazy motorists in three minutes, leading to jokes about her own skills behind the wheel.

Even on her time off, Woskoff was eager to help, sometimes stepping out from a movie showing to call fellow agents and check if they needed help.

"She was the ultimate go-to person in the bureau," said Dennis English, a detective for the robbery homicide division, who described Woskoff as an agent who got information about suspects so quickly she sometimes beat the machines that trace calls.

Although there were some tearful moments, there was mostly laughter, as speakers took turns sharing anecdotes that encapsulated the humor Woskoff exuded.

Woskoff, who loved shopping at Nordstrom's, liked poking fun at her feminine side. She compiled fake Christmas letters touting outrageous accomplishments and adventures, and she once wrote a fake memo requesting a car "that compliments my hair color," which she changed several times, requiring a number of cars to match.

During an especially poignant part of the service, Woskoff's sister was presented with an Award of Excellence by Lisa Feldman on behalf of the United States Attorney's office for all of the contributions that Woskoff made to solving countless cases.

A former special education teacher, Woskoff decided she wanted to become an FBI agent after reading an article in a magazine about top new professions for women. Becoming a female FBI agent was one of them.

In April 1981, Woskoff was sworn in as a new agent to the bureau, where she worked for the last 23 years -- moving from the surveillance team to the tech team.

Many described her as a natural for the job, capable of working faster than others, while still getting results. She was also described as always ready and willing to assist new recruits.

On January 23, Woskoff, 55, was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head in her Santa Monica apartment.

The Los Angeles Coronor's Office told The Lookout that Woskoff had become depressed and frequently talked about suicide for some time before her death.

Woskoff left two notes behind, according to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times.

The first note was reportedly addressed to Woskoff's immediate supervisor, while the other note made references to FBI Special Agent in Charge Jim Sheehan, a colleague and an ex-boyfriend.

The memorial comes at a time when the FBI has made plans to reassign Sheehan to the bureau's Washington office, according to the Times.

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