Cover photo for William R. Woods's Obituary
William R. Woods Profile Photo
1934 William Woods 2023

William R. Woods

December 3, 1934 — November 16, 2023




William R. Woods, age 88, passed away on Thursday, November 16, 2023, in Chester.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 AM on Tuesday, November 21, at the Chester Community United Methodist Church (510 Monroe Avenue, Chester, MT) followed by a reception for friends and family.  Bill will be laid to rest at Highland Cemetery in Havre with a committal service at 2:30 pm. 

William R. Woods was born December 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.

Bill attended the Inverness Elementary School but later transferred to Joplin High School after the Inverness High School lost accreditation for a brief period during WWII. He graduated from Joplin HS in 1953.  Music played an important part in Bill’s life growing up.  Bill’s Dad, Roscoe played the banjo, Bill played the trombone, and brother Walter played the trumpet.  After high school, Bill started his college career at Rocky Mountain College in Billings.  He would tell the story of when the dean called him into the office and told him Rocky was not going to be able to provide him with the education he wanted to pursue.  Therefore, he transferred to Montana State University in Bozeman and graduated in 1957.  Bill taught in Twin Bridges for a year and in Ekalaka, Montana for a couple of years.  On July 13, 1963, Bill married Sharon Hagen, a music teacher, in Glasgow, Montana on a steaming hot day. It was 103 degrees!  They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary last summer.

Bill and Sharon made a home and career teaching in Culbertson, Montana.  Bill was the Vo-Ag/Shop teacher and FFA advisor from 1964 to 1984.  He led quite 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.

Bill really 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 & camping trips in Northern Canada at the end of the school year.  Bill was also very involved in the Lions Club and particularly involved in their vision program. Bill was awarded the Melvin Jones Fellow award.

Most of all, Bill 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, Bill and Sharon returned to the farm to live and farm full-time.  In 2014 Bill officially retired from farming and leased his farm to his young cousin Matthew Woods, so, in a way, he was still teaching farming and sharing stories about the family’s early years to the next generation.  

Bill was an active member of the Inverness United Methodist Church and later attended the Chester United Methodist Church. Bill accompanied his mother to church, and Sharon was the church organist. Bill was also a proud Godfather at Lauren Woods’ baptism, and always remembered cousin Greg’s children through the years at Christmas and birthdays. Throughout their lives and especially in their retirement, they enjoyed traveling and acquired multiple timeshares around the US, but their favorite place to vacation was in Hawaii and Sedona, Arizona.  They also took many trips to Hawaii and created photo albums to enjoy in their later years. Sharon’s sister Shirley Boley accompanied them on many trips as well. Bill and Sharon did not have children of their own, but they enjoyed spending time with Shirley’s son Casey.  Bill was an important father figure in Casey’s life.  Casey especially remembers going to East Glacier snowmobiling to hand-cut the family Christmas tree.

Bill is survived by his wife of 60 years, Sharon Woods; a brother Walter (Ann) Woods of Hermiston, OR; Sister-in-law Pearl Hagen of Glasgow, MT; nephews Casey (Angie) Boley of Inverness; Dan (Kim) Woods of Redondo Beach, CA; Richard (Carie) Hagen of Colorado Springs, CO; Robert (Michelle) Hagen of Broomfield, CO; Ronald (Lori) Hagen of Boise, ID; nieces Joanie Woods (Gerald) Moore of Hermiston, OR, and Laura (Frank) Dorchak of Colorado Springs, CO;  and cousins Greg (Elizabeth) Woods of Inverness; Scott (Kathy) Woods of Treasure Island, FL; Linda (Matt) Guzik of Mangawhai, New Zealand; and Donald Han of Inverness; and many great-nieces and nephews.  Bill was predeceased by his parents, brother Barry, sister-in-law Shirley Boley, and brother-in-law Jerry Hagen.

The family would like to thank special caregivers Jocelyn Woods, Mandy Sanders, and the staff at the Logan Health Center and Wheat Country Estates for the excellent care they gave Bill in his final years.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of William R. Woods, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

William's Memorial Service

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Mountain time)

Chester United Methodist Church

510 West Monroe Avenue, Chester, MT 59522

Burial in Highland Cemetery to follow service.

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