Thomas John (Jack) Woods died on Monday, November 27 in Fort Myers, FL. The son of Bert Fernell and Anna (Lennon) Woods, he was born January 27, 1919 in Gladwin County, MI. He graduated from Gladwin High School in 1937 where he loved playing baseball and football.
He went on to attend Michigan State College, (now University) in East Lansing, MI. He worked his way through college, played Freshman football and was a member of the Alpha Gamma Ro fraternity. He graduated with a bachelor of science degree in Animal Husbandry in 1941. While at Michigan State he met Mary Liz from Paducah, KY.
After graduating from Michigan State Jack returned to the family farm in Gladwin County as he had an agriculture exemption from the draft but enlisted in the US Navy in 1943 to serve his country. After induction at Great Lakes Naval Training Center near Chicago, Jack was selected for Officer Training and sent to Princeton University, NJ. He was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy.
Maryliz and Jack were married on April 15, 1944 in Fort Pierce FL and Jack left for the Pacific Theater and joined his ship LST (Tank, Landing Ship) 395 in New Guinea. He worked his way through the Pacific Archipelagos all the way to Tokyo Bay at War’s end. He ended the War as a Lieutenant (junior grade) and the Executive Officer of the ship. In the fall of 1945 he was named Commanding Officer of the “395” and brought her stateside to Long Beach, CA.
Upon his discharge from the Navy, he and Mary Liz moved to Midland, MI where he was a 4 -H extension officer. They moved to Gladwin, MI in 1948 and joined his father and mother in operating the Woods Implement Store selling John Deere and New Holland farm equipment until 1978. While living in Gladwin, he served the community in city and country government. He and Mary Liz moved to Fort Myers, FL permanently in 1994.
As a member of the Greatest Generation, Jack was the consummate sportsman, scholar and gentleman. He was an avid golfer at Gladwin Heights Golf Course — sometimes playing as many as 54 holes during the long Michigan summer days. He continued to play golf nearly every day at Fort Myers Country Club for nearly 20 years. Throughout his life he loved reading and served as the ship’s librarian during his time in the Pacific. He loved hunting, cutting wood, planting trees, and tended a large garden. He had a friendly wave and smile for everyone and will be remembered for his cheerfulness, humility, and kind and gentle nature.
He is survived by his wife of 73 years and 7 months Mary Elizabeth (Mary Liz) (Kerth) Woods of Fort Myers; son Mike of Clare, MI (Val); daughter Mary Kristie of Bethesda, Maryland (Todd); daughter Lisa of Upland, CA and son John (Bitsy) of Fort Myers, FL. Surviving grandchildren include Caroline Woods of Wellington, FL and Chase and Adam Smith of Bethesda, MD; Christie Knudsen, his sister in law of Fort Myers, FL; and many nephews, nieces and cousins. His oldest grandson Matt preceded him in death.
Gifts in memory of Jack may be made to First Tee (www.firstee.org) to develop future golfers or to Hope Healthcare (www.hopehospice.org/donate) in recognition of their compassionate hospice care. The family wishes to thank the staff of Barkley Place and Jack’s caregivers for the past several years: Lynn, Rachelle, Joyce, Micheline, and Michee.
A memorial service will be held at 3:30 pm Saturday December 2, 2017 at Barkley Place, 36 Barkley Circle, Fort Myers, FL. Interment will be in Gladwin, MI during the summer of 2018.