Stillwater News Press

Obituaries

October 20, 2011

Grady Woods

Grady Woods, a longtime Stillwater/Perkins area resident, continued his spiritual journey Monday morning, Oct. 17th, 2011.  A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 21, 2011 at the Lost Creek United Methodist Church. After a valiant two-week struggle in hospital, he returned to the home before departing from this world in a good way, leaving family and friends strengthened by his courage and comforted by his presence. Strode Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Grady Roy Woods was born Aug. 24th, 1933, near Tellico Plains, Tenn., to Wilburn Hoyt Woods and Ollie Mae Ash.  Raised by his paternal grandmother, Martha North, he grew up in the Smoky Mountains of Tenn. and N.C., learning to hunt and fish, prepare plant medicines, and tell stories that arose from the intersections of the Eastern Band Cherokee and southern Appalachian cultures in which he lived.  From these well-springs flowed a combination of attitudes and skills needed to survive the poverty and dislocation of the Great Depression.   

Attending school only through the fourth-grade, he worked in a sawmill during his childhood years, earning a much needed additional income for his family.  Leaving home in his early teens, Grady travelled throughout the South working seasonal and temporary jobs, from cleaning stables for wintering circuses in Fla., to picking grapes for vineyards in southern Texas and Mexico, to working as a farmhand for farmers in Kan.

Enlisting in the United States Army in 1952, Grady served in Company D of the 17th Infantry Regiment during the Korean War.

Upon his honorable release from service, Grady lived in Bradley County, Tenn. finding employment at the Dixie Stove Company, a small business located in Cleveland.  In 1955, he married Lillie Carter, by whom he was blessed with a daughter, Barbara Ann.  Grady and Lillie were divorced in 1960.

After a few years of peregrination, Grady arrived in Perkins, Okla., where in 1963 he found work at Gardner’s Gibble Gas station at the corner of Main and Thomas Streets.  During this time, he was  befriended by George Thomas (G.T.) Bickell and family.  Soon he would respect Mabel (Mammie) Bickell as a mother and consider G.T. and sister Sharon to be siblings, thus finding a community conducive to family life.  

On Valentine’s Day in 1964, Grady married Kathleen Edmondson.  The couple lived briefly in Perkins before moving to the Edmondson family farm near Lost Creek in rural Payne County.  To them were born sons Steven and Bryan.

Over the years, Grady worked for Oklahoma State University, Swan Rubber Company, Coca-Cola, Mercury Marine, and the City of Stillwater, before finding what was, for him, a dream job as the Pioneer Bus driver for Stillwater Public Schools.  In this capacity, “Mr. Grady,” contributed to the lives of hundreds of young men and women, many of whom affectionately referred to themselves as “The Grady Bunch.”

Always frustrated by his own lack of formal education, Grady availed himself of the training opportunities afforded to him by his employers and the courses offered by the State of Oklahoma vocational and technological school system.  In later life, he became an avid reader, particularly enjoying the novels of Robert J. Conley.  But perhaps his greatest educational accomplishment came as a result of his assiduous support and enthusiastic encouragement for the education of his family.  

Grady was an ardent rockhound and an accomplished jewelry maker who loved finding an ignoble rock that could be turned into noble stone.  Family members and friends cajoled into rock hunting were always gratified by the gifts he produced from their finds.   Grady also enjoyed bass and crappie fishing, experiencing as much pleasure in telling stories about “the one that got away” as showing off his catch.  He usually cultivated a large summer vegetable garden, looking forward to sharing the tomatoes and cantaloupes he grew with neighbors.

He is preceded in death by his parents, his brother John Woods, his mother-and-father- in-law Fern and Lloyd Edmondson, and his grandson Kieran Carter Smith Woods.

He is survived by his wife Kathleen, of the home, daughter Barbara Ann, Cleveland, Tenn., son Steven and spouse Jina Ash, Bartlesville, Okla., son Bryan and wife Janice, Stillwater, Okla., daughter Karen Smith Woods and spouse John Tucker, Bartlesville, Okla., brother-in-law, Kenneth and Linda Edmondson, sister-in-law, Clara and Jim Davis, sister-in-law, Patti and Bud Redmond, and brother-in-law, Rex Edmondson.

He is survived also by grandchildren, Michael Liner, Mark Liner, and Lena Liner Mooneyham, Hailea Schwartz, Tristen Tucker, Bryndan Woods, Pearson Woods, Tyler Woods, and Kateri Grace Smith Woods.

His family will find comfort in memories of him and strength in each other during the days and years ahead.

Condolences may be emailed to the family and an online obituary may be viewed by visiting www.strodefh.com.

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