James "Jim" Wood '70 October 14, 2021 3:43 PM updated: October 14, 2021 4:31 PM
James Eugene "Jim" Wood
August 2, 1946 - September 29, 2021
An incomparable husband, father, and friend, Jim Wood was a man whose character was illustrated through his kindness, work ethic, sense of humor, steady nature, tenacity, endless optimism, and unfailing integrity.
Jim was born to Jane and Eugene Wood on August 2, 1946 in Hillsboro, TX. The family moved to McAllen in the Rio Grande valley in 1951, and then to Corsicana, TX in 1956, when Rev. Wood became the pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church. Jim graduated from Corsicana High School in 1964, then went on to play football at Southern Methodist University. He later transferred to Texas A&M, where he earned his Bachelor of Science (1970) and Master of Science (1971) in meteorology. He was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Chemical Corps and rose to the rank of Captain before being honorably discharged. Jim had a patriotic spirit and was proud to do his duty for what he always called "the greatest country in the world".
While at SMU, Jim met Amelia Cross on a blind date, and they married in July of 1970. Amelia was the love and light of his life for over 51 years. Their daughter Lora was born in 1972, followed by son Bill in 1975. The family lived in Corsicana, where Jim built a successful business as a State Farm agent, retiring in 2013 after 40 years.
Jim grew up surrounded by an extended family full of readers, writers, preachers, fishermen, hunters, and travelers. His father and paternal grandfather were both fishermen as well as ministers. His grandfather Wood was also an avid hunter. His childhood was full of the outdoors. The family took regular fishing trips to Rockport, TX and also traveled frequently to Ruidoso, NM, where he spent hours playing in the woods and river, learning to appreciate the mountains as much as the coast. He was a lover of travel, wildlife, natural scenery, and outdoor activity. No one could spot a deer faster or farther away. As a dad, he gave his children similar experiences, taking them camping and fishing and snow skiing. He taught an appreciation for the natural world, encouraged adventure, and framed all of life as an endless blessing from the Almighty. He smiled and laughed constantly, and was never afraid to be silly to entertain his children and grandchildren. He loved stories in all forms, whether reading, telling, or listening to them. This also naturally made him a history buff with particular interests in World War II and the history of the American Southwest.
One of the greatest influences on Jim's life and character was his experience as co-captain of the Corsicana High School football team that won the 1963 State Championship. The football years helped shape him into a leader of strength and integrity. He was known by his team for his grit and his determined attitude. He and three other Tigers went on to play for the SMU Mustangs on football scholarships, including his friend, Don Denbow, who also became his college roommate. They jokingly told tales of being the "poor country kids" amongst the more affluent attendees. His favorites included how they gathered their classmates' cast-off coke bottles to turn in for cash, and how they had boxes of dented cans of chili stashed under their beds, given to them by Mr. Herb Johnson who worked at the Wolf Brand chili factory in Corsicana. In 1966, Jim played on the SMU Mustangs SWC Championship team and went on to play Georgia in the Cotton Bowl. Jim could tell football stories for hours; it seemed he could recall the details of any and every play, and his gratitude for being blessed with those experiences was forever evident. He remained close friends with both coaches and teammates throughout his life.
Jim's characteristic fearlessness in taking whatever he determined to be the right course of action was the foundation of his ability as a leader and as a pillar in the community. As a lifelong member of Westminster Presbyterian, he served in every possible capacity, including deacon, elder, trustee, Sunday school teacher, and committee member. He served several terms on the YMCA Board, including twice as President. He also served on the boards of the Salvation Army, Family Services, and the Humane Society of Navarro County. He supported nearly every local charity, bought from every kid with a school fundraiser, and volunteered for everything from little league baseball coach to shelter dog walker. He was a doer and a problem solver, methodical and persistent, always ready to "take positive action," as he called it, toward whatever goal he deemed worthy. He was not one to sit still for long. Nor was he interested in hearing about what you were against; he would rather hear about what you were for, and then to help you achieve it. Devoted service and productive action were hallmarks of his life.
Jim passed away peacefully at his home in Corsicana on Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021 after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. He was 75 years old.
The family is extremely grateful to Dalia Cleveland and to the staff of New Century Hospice for their excellent care and their tremendous kindness during the final weeks of his life.
He was preceded in death by his parents, the Rev. Eugene Wood and Jane Wood. He is survived by his wife, Amelia; sisters, Betsy Gordon and Dorothy Rutledge; daughter, Lora Plemons (John Paul) of Blooming Grove; son, Bill Wood '97 (Robin) of Allen; and grandchildren, Claire Plemons, Peyton Duncan, Ashlyn Wood, Alyssa Wood, and Janie Plemons; aunt, Mary Louise Wood; and numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Visitation will be held Monday, October 4 from 5:00-7:00pm at Corley Funeral Home. Funeral services will be Tuesday, October 5 at 10:30am at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Corsicana. Interment to follow at Oakwood Cemetery. Pallbearers will be Bill Maupin, Don Denbow, John Harper, B.J. Coker, Marc Maxwell, Mike Miller, Dave Ralston, John Stover, and Terry Seth. Serving as Honorary pallbearers are the members and coaches of the 1963 CHS State Champion football team.
Memorial contributions in Jim's name may be made to the YMCA, the Humane Society of Navarro County, The Alzheimer's Association, or Westminster Presbyterian Church.
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