- April 11, 1930 - April 7, 2012
- Bridgman, Michigan
of John's Passing
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Memories & CandlesPrevious
“John was a good friend . We had lots of fun together, in our early years.
He shall be missed greatly.
Sympathy and Love to his family, Dick &...Read More »
1 of 72 | Posted by: Richard & Lenore Hauch - FL
“my sympathy goes out to the family .Mr Woods was a great man and im sure he is greatly missed he always listened to what i had to say...Read More »
2 of 72 | Posted by: lynette a (mcgrath) cunningham - TN
“I was a student at Lakeshore Jr High when Mr. Woods was our principal. I remember one day during lunch, I was shooting milk through the straw out of...Read More »
3 of 72 | Posted by: Jodi Rabbers - Arlington, TX
“I have a number of Lakeshore pics at
Included is the "winning...Read More »
4 of 72 | Posted by: Ron Dirkse - Tokyo
“John was my Principal from 1967 to 1974. What a giant of a man in so many ways. I think the only thing we ever "disagreed" on was my growing of a...Read More »
5 of 72 | Posted by: Ron Dirkse - Tokyo
“Coach Woods was a 'gentle giant', especially to us 'short', non-athletes.
I'll never forget the first time I stared up at him. Had to be the...Read More »
6 of 72 | Posted by: ed niedbala - Signal Mountain, TN
“So sorry to hear about John he was my principle in jr.high and what a great person he was, he could always make a person laugh and feel better if...Read More »
7 of 72 | Posted by: Jeff Starbuck - Bridgman, MI
“I always liked Mr. Woods, but when I saw him 20 some years after being at the junior high, at the gas station, excitedly, I approached him to say...Read More »
8 of 72 | Posted by: Tomeka Kinne - Baroda, MI
“" Big Blue " was very special to me. I will never forget the good times we shared together and how can I forget Annie. She's a special lady and a...Read More »
9 of 72 | Posted by: Frank Wesner - Bothell, WA
“To the family of Mr. Woods;
Working with him over the years was a pleasure. He was truly a man among men, standing tall in his believes, and...Read More »
10 of 72 | Posted by: L. Sonny Bowens - Battle Creek, MI
“We recall "coach Woods" in so many of his rolls. He fit them all to a tee. Whether he was teaching a skill, running a practice or leading staff he...Read More »
11 of 72 | Posted by: Marc and Mary Del Mariani - MI
“To the entire Woods Family: Because of John's retirement, I was able to come to Lakeshore High School and take over as Assistant Principal for Denny...Read More »
12 of 72 | Posted by: Bill Scaletta - Stevesnville, MI
“My sympathy to Coach's family all. Lakeshore wasn't a job location to him.
He was an encourager to years and years of young people crossing his...Read More »
13 of 72 | Posted by: Karen Kolberg Kietzer - MI
“Being the daughter of a former LHS superintendent, I knew a lot of the staff. Big John would always remind me of the time my dad stayed with him and...Read More »
14 of 72 | Posted by: Chris Seeley - Baroda, MI
“I would like to express my sympathy to the Woods family. I did
not know John well but enjoyed talking to him at Lakeshore school events. Also hello...Read More »
15 of 72 | Posted by: Ron Willit - Grand Rapids, MI
“As my drivers Ed. teacher he sat with his knees up to his chin. Rest in peace .
16 of 72 | Posted by: LindaMiller Keefer - Baroda, MI
“It's difficult to say good-bye when someone we love dies, To know we'll miss the laughter and the love found in their eyes, Yet much emptiness and...Read More »
17 of 72 | Posted by: Mike and Kathy (Rozinski) Phipps - MI
“You must be proud of John's dedication of caring for every life he came in contact with, especially young people, his country and community. His life...Read More »
18 of 72 | Posted by: Mary Jane & Walt Waldenmaier and family - MI
“Dear Anne and family: My thoughts and prayers are with you at this most difficult time. Big John will be remembered by all who met him, especially...Read More »
19 of 72 | Posted by: Al Schaffer - Ramona, CA
“Dearest Anne, Kim and family, Missy and family...
So many thoughts and never the right words come to mind when such a treasured family member had...Read More »
20 of 72 | Posted by: Lynne Rochau and Ed Beregsasy - MI
“Thinking back so many years ago, I always have fond memories of Mr. Woods. He was a nice man and will be missed.
21 of 72 | Posted by: Michael Turk - St. Joe, MI
“Everyone who ever met John was blessed. I will always remember,and miss him.
22 of 72 | Posted by: Ed Coombs - Mountain Home, AR
“I am truely saddend at the loss of my former drivers training teacher. John was as everone has commented here, a great educator, and a fine gentleman...Read More »
23 of 72 | Posted by: Stan Bennett - MI
“what seems like yesterday, john woods was my gym teacher when i attended lakeshore junior high school in stevensville in the later 50's. we would...Read More »
24 of 72 | Posted by: terry l. pfliger - bridgman, MI
“Oops I got that wrong, Johns DAD was my Grandmothers Brother, that is the relationship, That doesn't change anything, He was a great man. RIP.
25 of 72 | Posted by: Kenneth Woods Zimmerman - MI
“John's mom was my Grandmother's sister, I'm not sure how that makes us related but my Great Grandmother Woods is where my middle name comes from. I...Read More »
26 of 72 | Posted by: Kenneth Woods Zimmerman - st. Joe, MI
“THE LAST TIME I SAW COACH WOODS WAS IN MARTIN'S. WHILE WE WERE WAITING IN
THE CHECK-OUT LINE, SEVERAL PEOPLE WALKED PAST AND SAID "HEY, COACH!",...Read More »
27 of 72 | Posted by: Joyce (Geipel) Gano - MI
Thinking of you and your family in this difficult time.
28 of 72 | Posted by: Tracy London - MI
“My condolences Missy! Your Dad was loved & will be missed! (Class 1980)
29 of 72 | Posted by: Sonja Henschel - Stevensville, MI
“I know Coach Woods will always be remembered for much more than being the easiest guy to find in a crowded school hallway or gym. We will remember...Read More »
30 of 72 | Posted by: Shari Del Mariani - Stevensville, MI
“My father hired Coach Woods in 1957 and was proud of John from the start. As a young boy I always wanted to make coach proud of my work ethics in PE....Read More »
31 of 72 | Posted by: Larry L Stewart class of 65 - FL
“Coach Woods was a big man in so many ways. Coach would always 'get your attention' because of his physical stature and would really capture you with...Read More »
32 of 72 | Posted by: Robert Stewart LHS Class of '60 - MA
“John's passion as a Principal had a huge impact so on many people. He always
had something to say about how to do things right because he cared so...Read More »
33 of 72 | Posted by: Dave Feenstra - Hudsonville, MI
“I am sorry about the death of Mr. Woods and I pray you will be comforted in the days ahead. I sent the following letter to the newspaper editor...Read More »
34 of 72 | Posted by: Chuck Hoge - Fargo, ND
“Mr. Woods had such a presence in all of our lives at Lakeshore Jr. High and he will truly be missed. Everyone alludes to his great stature but it was...Read More »
35 of 72 | Posted by: Megan (Schinkel) Suitor - OH
“When I was playing basketball at Benton Harbor Jr. High, we played the preliminary games before Lake Michigan Collage. John was the center for the...Read More »
36 of 72 | Posted by: Jim Brow - Baroda, MI
“My father was excited about John the day he hired him. I never wanted to dissapoint John in PE class. Before class we used to play PIG from center...Read More »
37 of 72 | Posted by: Larry Stewart - Lake Worth, FL
“John Woods was a gentle giant. While pitching in a LHS baseball game, Coach Woods came out to the mound and told Fred and me that if I ever threw...Read More »
38 of 72 | Posted by: Steve Coleman - Tampa, FL
“Mr. Woods was one of my favorite teachers/educators at Lakeshore. He was a kind and sweet man that was a comfort to me when I came to Lakeshore due...Read More »
39 of 72 | Posted by: Kimi - Coloma, MI
“I remember Mr. Woods as my junior high science teacher. He made learning fun and he had a warm personality. I extend my sincere condolences to his...Read More »
40 of 72 | Posted by: Beth (Fiebich) Foyder - Genesee, MI
“I remember the first day of middele school and being introdced to Mr. Woods. He wa a giant compared and scared me. However, as I got to know him,...Read More »
41 of 72 | Posted by: Kelly - Lakeshore, MI - Student
“He was the first GIANT that me and so many other kids in the LHS school system ever met...
He was always available to talk to regardless of where I...Read More »
42 of 72 | Posted by: Tom Zuppke - Velma, OK
“My deepest sympathy to Mrs. Woods and family on the loss of a wonderful husband and father.
Mr. Woods was my drivers education teacher and he...Read More »
43 of 72 | Posted by: Carol Jancy - Oak Park, IL
“Coach Woods cut me from the freshman basketball team but took me under his wing as a sophomore and junior so I could develop into a starter as a...Read More »
44 of 72 | Posted by: Carl Fiebich - Fenton, MI
“John was a great customer and friend. When I first met him at Baroda Supermart/Baroda Phillips 66 he was like a big friendly giant. My husband...Read More »
45 of 72 | Posted by: Ann Bohm - Baroda, MI
“Mr. Woods was a prime example of an educator. He always had time to offer advice or just listen to a problem. I wish there were more educators like...Read More »
46 of 72 | Posted by: Barbi Hammond - Coloma, MI
“John shaped young people's lives. We called him "good John"which was started by Stockman and used by many of the kids he touched. He was a leader...Read More »
47 of 72 | Posted by: Mike Hoganson - Littleton, CO
“Mr. Woods was one of the good ones. Mentor,coach and drivers ed teacher. We still hear his words and remember his instructions and that is amazing...Read More »
48 of 72 | Posted by: Tom&Mickey Reid - Charlvoix, MI
“Mr. Woods was always one of my favorite people from my school days. He always had kind words to say and a moment to share those words. I feel such...Read More »
49 of 72 | Posted by: Julie K. Stelter - Baroda, MI
“R.I.P. Mr. Woods. I am thankful that I had the honor of knowing this kind and wonderful man. He was truly one of the greatest educators I have ever...Read More »
50 of 72 | Posted by: Lorie Looney Bronson - Bridgman, MI
“Mrs. Woods and Family,
We are very saddened to hear of the loss of John, such a Great man larger than life itself. He was my prinicpal and was a...Read More »
51 of 72 | Posted by: Tony, Denise, Jennifer, and Mary Milliken - MI
“John was such a special person as I look back at my days as a student at Lakeshore. I had John as a P.E. teacher in 1958 in the 7th grade at Baroda,...Read More »
52 of 72 | Posted by: Dave Bartz - Charleston, IL
“I want to express my condolences to everyone that knew and loved John. He touched so many lives and I considered him a great influence on how I...Read More »
53 of 72 | Posted by: Mike Mason - Mishawaka, IN
“I will miss you so much , especialy when we use to talk at the gas station and I have always thought of you like my own dad you made a giant...Read More »
54 of 72 | Posted by: Sandra (thompson) Gerlach - MI
“I always enjoyed Coach Wood's dedication and enthusiasm as he coached our JV basketball teams in '58 &'59. Also he taught driver's training...Read More »
55 of 72 | Posted by: Paul D. Fiebich - Derbyu, KS
“I will always remember Mr. Woods as a gentle giant of a man - who had a wonderful smile and was a great teacher. To his family - I hope that your...Read More »
56 of 72 | Posted by: Pat Zinkil Kretchman - IL
“My deepest hart felt condolences to Coach Wood's family. He was truly respected by all.
I remember him well as my driver's training teacher...Read More »
57 of 72 | Posted by: Steven R Arend - Baroda, MI
“My husband and I both remember the first time we saw Mr Woods. We were little 7th graders and in walks Mr Woods and he had to duck to walk thru the...Read More »
58 of 72 | Posted by: Jeff and Denise Connell - NV
“My deepest condolences to John's family and friends...
He was my principle at Jr. high...he was a very kind and smart guy, i was one of the trouble...Read More »
59 of 72 | Posted by: Douglas Vaughn - Ashland, OH
“It is only with fondness that I remember Mr. Woods. He was a a big man in so many ways: a true educator who had a love and genuine concern for each...Read More »
60 of 72 | Posted by: Chris Dwan Preston - Kalamazoo, MI
“I remember Mr Woods being so gentle and caring as he took me to the emergency room after breaking my arm at recess. He was genuinely concerned and...Read More »
61 of 72 | Posted by: Polly Ransom Burnside - Olivet, MI
“Mr. Woods was a "gentle giant" and from my perspective a giant among men. He was a role model for his students, athletes and all of us that had the...Read More »
62 of 72 | Posted by: Denise Varney Gersonde - MI
“May he rest in peace. He was loved and adored - so many of us were lucky enough to have him for our Principal too. My prayers go out to his family...Read More »
63 of 72 | Posted by: Judy Luther - CA - Student
“Mr. Woods was one of the kindest, most understanding teacher/leader I have known. He was always there for his students no matter what. The Family,...Read More »
64 of 72 | Posted by: Pamela Story Fitzgerald - FL
“My sister and I both took driver's training from John and at the same time and in the same car. I think between the two of us we may have aged John...Read More »
65 of 72 | Posted by: Lisa Lyons - Payson, AZ - Student
“My earliest memory of John Woods was when he was our Physical Education teacher. I was in 5th or 6th grade at the old Baroda Elementary School. John...Read More »
66 of 72 | Posted by: Dan and Sharon Deja - Key West, FL
“He was a GREAT MAN, HE WILL BE GREATLY MISSED.
67 of 72 | Posted by: Donnie Johnson - Baroda, MI
“Mr. Woods was one of the must gentle man I have ever met, he had a way with the Kids that towered over us all. i remember one time walking down the...Read More »
68 of 72 | Posted by: Donnie Johnson - Baroda, MI
“RIP-to a wonderful man, mentor and teacher. All wo knew Mr. Woods loved and respected him. He was one of the best.
69 of 72 | Posted by: Becky (Tapp) Arend - annn Arbor, MI
“Godspeed Mr. Woods..
70 of 72 | Posted by: Traci McGrath - Las Vegas, NV
“John was my driver education teacher fifty years ago. I spent the month of February, 2012 around him at Caretel Inns in St. Joseph, MI. We were...Read More »
71 of 72 | Posted by: Larry Zielke - Stevensville , MI
“The best grandfather anyone could ask for.
72 of 72 | Posted by: Michelle T. - Stevensville, MI
John L. Woods, 81, of Bridgman, passed away Saturday, April 07, 2012 at Caretel Inns in St. Joseph.
Celebration of Life Services will be held 10:00 A.M. Wednesday at Starks & Menchinger Chapel, 2650 Niles Rd., St. Joseph. Burial will follow at New Troy Cemetery in New Troy. Friends may call from 5:00 until 8:00 P.M. Tuesday at the funeral home. Memorials may be made to Lakeshore Athletic Department. Those wishing to sign John's Memory Book online may do so at www.stark-menchinger.com.
John was born April 11, 1930 in Niles, Michigan to Joel & Pearl (Prenkert) Woods. He graduated from New Troy High School in 1948, Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, MI, and earned his Masters from Western Michigan University. On August 27, 1955, he married the former Anne Jacobs in Cotter, Arkansas. John began his career in education in 1957 as a teacher at Lakeshore High School. He served as principal at Stewart Elementary for one year, and as principal at Lakeshore Jr. High School from 1966 until his retirement in 1991. He also served for many years as Baseball Coach, Assistant Basketball Coach and as announcer for the basketball & football games. He was an avid Lakeshore Sports Fan. John was a member & past president of the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals. In his spare time, he enjoyed golf, fishing, and spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren.
John is survived by his wife Anne; two daughters-Kim (Randy) Paruch of Jenison, MI, Melissa Tucker of Stevensville; and six grandchildren-Zach & Christina Paruch, Michelle, Ashley, Ryan & John Tucker. He was preceded in death by his parents.