MENDOTA - Jack Woods, 85, of Mendota died Oct. 3, 2017 at the Illinois Veteran’s Home in LaSalle.
Funeral services will be held at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7 at the Merritt Funeral Home, Mendota with Rev. Bill Ultch officiating. Burial will be at Troy Grove Cemetery with military rites by Mendota VFW Post 4079. Visitation will be from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 7 at the funeral home.
Jack was born Nov. 1, 1931 in Princeton, Ind. to Paul and Leona (Harmon) Woods. He married Nila Rose Willis of Petersburg, Ind. on July 3, 1958. She preceded him in death.
Survivors include three daughters, Ginger (Jeff) Miller of Elgin, Gaylene (David) Thompson of Troy Grove and Alison Woods of Kenosha, Wis.; three grandchildren, Grant Thompson (Lindsay), James Giacometti and Leslie (Jake) Miller; three great grandchildren, Ezra Onyx and Astrid Alaia Thompson and Lyla Rose Miller; three step-grandchildren, Jayme (Arnel) Miller-Flores, Ryan and Zach Miller; one step great-grandson, Drake Flores; one brother, Bill (Anita) Woods of Nebraska; one sister-in-law, Mazo Woods of Indiana; and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife; one brother, Tom; and five sisters, Virginia, Mae, Maxine, Polly and Marlene.
Jack graduated in 1949 from Princeton High School in Princeton, Ind. He was drafted into the Army in 1952 where he spent time in the Korean War. After military service, he attended Tulane University on a basketball scholarship, but due to his father’s illness he returned home to work on the family farm. With his continued love of basketball, he and his brother, Bill joined the Hitch Packing Basketball team and the General Baptist Church league. While playing with Hitch Packing, they entered tournaments and played against semi-pro basketball teams with famous players such as Jerry Sloan and others. Jack worked as a butcher/salesman for Hitch Packing Company, which is where he met Nila. After their marriage, they lived and worked in Princeton until moving to Mendota in 1963 where Jack took a job with Swift and Company in Rochelle. He always kept a second job to provide for his family. When Swift closed in 1981, he went to work at Trekker Chemical Company in Mendota. Upon retirement, he continued being active gardening and a helping his son-in-law.
Jack’s greatest pride and joy in life were his wife, his three girls and his grandchildren. He followed every activity - baseball, volleyball and football. He also loved traveling (always driving). Some of his best years were spent following his grandson, James who was in travel baseball and his daughter, Alison who played college volleyball. He and Rose rarely missed a game. He really enjoyed taking fishing trips to Minnesota or Kentucky Lake with his wife and her family or camping at Yogi Bear with his family and good friends. All this gave him great enjoyment. While not having boys, he was an active leader in Boy Scouts for years and was the Scout Master of one of the largest troops in Mendota, Troop 106.
Memorials may be directed to the Illinois Veteran’s Home in LaSalle.