John Burton “Jack” Woods, age 87, passed away peacefully on May 12, 2021, after a battle with pancreatic and stomach cancer. He was surrounded by his loving and devoted family in the comfort of his own home. Born July 5, 1933 in Danville, Virginia, he was the son of the late John Andy Woods and Lois Burton Woods. Also preceding him in death was his beloved wife and best friend of 58 years, Jeanette Stinson Woods, brother Andy Green Woods, sister-in-law Martha Wilkinson Woods and brother-in-law Julian Randolph (“Randy”) Stinson.
Jack graduated from George Washington High School in Danville in 1952 where he was the captain of both the baseball team and basketball team that went undefeated in the Western Conference that year. He then attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Go Heels!) where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and graduated as an ROTC Cadet in 1956. During his freshman year at UNC, Jack played on both the baseball and basketball teams. In 1956 he was captain of the baseball team that tied with Duke University for second place in the conference. He was also a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.
Jack and Jeanette met in high school. After Jack graduated from college, he and Jeanette were married before he departed for military duty. Proudly serving his country, he spent three years in the Air Force, first at Harlingen Air Force Base in Harlingen, Texas for basic pre-flight training and then active duty at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia. He left the military as a KC-97 Navigator Captain. Jack’s service to his country and community shaped so much of who he was as a person.
Jack moved to Danville after his military career and worked in sales at Womack Electric Supply until 1963. After the death of their dad, Jack then returned to the family farm in Purley where he and Andy raised cattle and grew tobacco. Many have said rarely were the two referred to as Jack OR Andy; rather Jack AND Andy. The two were virtually inseparable and were a true example of brotherly love, despite fighting like cats and dogs as children.
During his time in Purley, Jack was recognized by the Caswell County Jaycees and Carolina Power & Light Company as an Outstanding Young Farmer. He served on the Board of County Commissioners in Caswell County and as Chairman of the Board, and he participated on The John Motley Morehead Foundation Selection Committee. In 1978, Jack accepted a political appointment from Governor James B. Hunt. He, Jeanette and Amy moved to Raleigh for him to become the Director of Local Government Advocacy, a liaison position between government and North Carolina farmers. He continued in this role through Governor Hunt’s re-election term that ended in 1984.
To allow Amy to graduate high school in Raleigh, Jack worked in residential real estate until 1986 before moving back to the farm. In addition to farming, from 1986-1992 Jack was the Sales Supervisor of the Danville Tobacco Market as well as a member of the Danville Regional Medical Center Board of Directors from 1995-2005.
He was also a sports enthusiast and later in life never missed an opportunity to attend or watch a baseball, football or basketball game (and ice hockey and Nascar if Mike was visiting). Jack never met a stranger he couldn’t talk to. Gregarious by nature, and even more so as he aged, he had a unique way with words (not always tactful) and was known for his sense of humor. Andy said Jack could talk to a fence post! He could be charming and delightful to most, yet push Jeanette and Amy’s buttons in a New York minute!
Above all, the most important thing to Jack was his family. He treasured his family and embraced every moment with them, especially time spent with them outside on the farm. He and Jeanette were so proud that their children loved each and enjoyed the company of each other. He used to tell his kids “family that works together on the farm, stays together and stays out of trouble!” He joked that the farm was not big enough for all the family to settle there.
He was very proud of his world traveling pilot and son Johnny, who was the only one to take his advice and live elsewhere. But he could not have been happier when Johnny purchased adjoining land to the Woods Farm. He loved to talk stocks and investments with accountant son Bill. It took a while (decades) for Jack to figure out how to handle a daughter. But he learned Amy was quite useful at doctor appointments with her knowledge of medical terminology and medications. Even if a son was available he really preferred to have Amy by his side for appointments. And oh how he loved his grandchildren and great grandchildren. Jack will be missed greatly, but the stories, laughs and memories will never be forgotten. His “Jackisms” like “take a picture of a horse, get a horse,” and his “clear right” announcements in a vehicle will live on forever in his children.
Jack is survived by his daughter Amy Jeanette Woods and husband, Chris; sons John Burton Woods, Jr. and wife, Patti, William Stinson Woods and wife, Mary Ellen, and Michael Scott Woods and wife, Joanne; grandchildren Landon Woods, Jamie Rethaford, Jackson Woods, Autumn Woods, Emily Woods, William Woods, Caroline Woods and Valentine Breitbarth; great-grandchildren Jaxon Rethaford, Weston Rethaford, Cassidy Rethaford, James Breitbarth and Bennett Breitbarth; sister-in-law Carolyn Stinson; nieces Susan Woods Granson, Cynthia Stinson Stone and nephews, Andy Woods, Jr. and Jay Stinson, as well as numerous devoted and loving cousins and friends.
The family would like to thank Authoracare Hospice, in particular his nurse, Sarah Martin. We are also grateful to Susie Lucas for the loving care she provided over the past eight (8) months. Thanks are also extended to the Duke team who took such good care of Jack over the past few years, in particular Dr. Barbara Aldridge and Dr. Jinquan Jia.
A celebratory funeral service will be held Monday, May 17, 2021 at 2 PM at Purley United Methodist Church. We respectfully request masks be worn in compliance with CDC guidelines. The service will be simultaneously broadcasted on FM 89.3 for visitors who choose to remain in the parking lot. To view the funeral online please email Autumn Woods at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will receive a link to the stream prior to the service. Pastor Howard James and Reverend Jane Almon will officiate the service.
Visitation will immediately follow the service and burial at the church fellowship hall. Townes Funeral Home will be serving the Woods Family.
In lieu of flowers please make contributions to Purley United Methodist Church (Attention: Terri Powell, 266 Bill Powell Road, Blanch, NC 27212) or to Community Foundation of the Dan River Region (541 Loyal Street, Danville, Va. 24541.)