Friends and family have shared their relationship to show their support.
How do you know Gary Woods?
We are sorry for your loss.
Help others honor Gary's memory.
Coping with Grief
We would like to offer our sincere support to anyone coping with grief. Enter
your email below for our complimentary daily grief messages. Messages run for up to one year and you
can stop at any time. Your email will not be used for any other purpose.
November 6, 1955 ~ July 31, 2023 (age 67) 67 Years Old
Gary M Woods, 67, passed away peacefully July 31, 2023, at his home in Phoenix. Born November 6, 1955, Gary was the middle child of three children born to Bernard and Darlene (Donahue) Woods who were proud and hard-working third generation farm family in Ottawa, Illinois.
Gary was an avid athlete who participated in most sports during his time at Wallace Grade School and Marquette High School, but basketball was by far his favorite sport. While attending Illinois Benedictine College, Gary played four years of varsity basketball and was named MVP at the Augustana College Tournament. Graduating in 1977 with a degree in Physical Education and English, Gary landed a career teaching and coaching basketball at his own alma mater, Wallace Grade School, where he found himself teaching alongside many of his own former teachers.
It came as no surprise to anyone but perhaps, modest Gary Woods himself, that he was honored by being selected as a member of the John Pociavasek Marquette Hall of Fame in 2020, surrounded and supported by many classmates, friends and family.
In his personal life out of the classroom and off the court, Gary was proud of being from a fourth generation farm family, especially when he got to work alongside his dad. Gary was also proud of his prized collection of CDs from the Big Band era, never tiring of listening to the music from his mother and father’s generation. After moving to Arizona, Gary also enjoyed working at the Sports Authority in Scottsdale for twelve years. Gary loved his four-footed buddies, Dublin and Dooley, who were loyally by his side twenty-four seven.
Gary is preceded in death by his parents, grandparents, aunt, uncles and cousins and is survived by his brother, James, and sister Judith Woods, as well as several dear cousins. Jim and Judy both remember fondly that Gary was always available to lend a helping hand, routinely saying to them, “I’m just trying to do good.” Jim and Judy treasure the words that Gary said to them on the Sunday before they lost him: “You do know that you and Judy are the best brother and sister that I could possibly have.”
Visitation will be Thursday, December 21, from 9:00 until 11:00am at Ottawa Funeral Home. Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11:30 at St. Patrick's Catholic Church. Burial will follow at St. Columba Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, please send memorial donations on behalf of Gary Woods to the charity of choice or the Woods family.