William R. Woods, 88, died Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023, in Chester.
He was born Dec. 3, 1934, in Vegerville, Alberta, Canada, to William Roscoe and Violet Hayter Woods. They lived in a two-story log house in Warwick, Alberta, Canada. In 1949, the family moved to Montana and made their home a few miles north of and between Rudyard and Inverness. They were dryland wheat farmers who were active in their rural community.
He attended the Inverness Elementary School, but later transferred to Joplin High School after the Inverness High School lost accreditation for a brief period during World War II. He graduated from Joplin High School in 1953. Music played an important part in his life growing up. His father, Roscoe, played the banjo, he played the trombone and brother Walter played the trumpet.
After high school, he started his college career at Rocky Mountain College in Billings. He transferred to Montana State University in Bozeman and graduated in 1957.
He taught in Twin Bridges for a year and in Ekalaka for a couple of years.
On July 13, 1963, Bill married Sharon Hagen, a music teacher in Glasgow. They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary last summer. They made a home and career teaching in Culbertson. He was the vo-ag/shop teacher and FFA advisor from 1964 to 1984. He led a successful FFA program, preparing his students for state and national FFA conventions and winning many awards. His shop class produced teams that competed successfully in the Plymouth Trouble Shooting contest, also winning several awards.
He enjoyed hunting, fishing and flying his plane. He took several fishing trips flying into Alaska and northern Canada and, in fact, he, along with parent chaperones, would take his FFA students on fishing and camping trips in northern Canada at the end of the school year. He was also very involved in the Lions Club and particularly involved in their vision program. He was awarded the Melvin Jones Fellow Award.
Most of all, he loved teaching and farming. He farmed on the weekends and taught during the week, commuting between Culbertson and Rudyard in the fall and spring until summer break when they’d stay in Inverness.
After retiring from teaching in 1984, they returned to the farm to live and farm full-time. In 2014, he officially retired from farming and leased his farm to his young cousin Matthew Woods.
He was an active member of the Inverness United Methodist Church and later attended the Chester United Methodist Church.
Throughout their lives and especially in their retirement, they enjoyed traveling and acquired multiple timeshares around the U.S., but their favorite place to vacation was in Hawaii and Sedona, Ariz.
He is survived by his wife, Sharon Woods; and brother, Walter Woods of Hermiston, Ore.
He was preceded in death by his brother, Barry.
A memorial service was held Tuesday, Nov. 21, at the Chester Community United Methodist Church. Burial was at Highland Cemetery in Havre with a committal service at 2:30 p.m.