Melvin C. Woods Sr. was born in Rocky Mount, Virginia on March 12, 1934, to Mary Carlie Stone Woods and Roy Benjamin Woods. He earned his wings on Thursday, March 12, 2020, in his home surrounded by his wife, son, and daughters, in Williamsburg, VA.
Melvin was born into a large family of eight boys and three girls. In a time when it was frowned upon for people of color to be educated, “Mom Carlie”, a former school teacher, ensured that all the Woods siblings started school knowing how to read and write. At a very young age, he joined Holy Trinity Baptist Church. Melvin graduated from Lee M. Wade High School in 1951 and drove the school bus for a short time afterward before leaving home to join the U.S. Air Force. He served his country from 1954 to 1958 and received the Army Occupation Medal (Germany) and a Good Conduct Medal.
Once Melvin returned from overseas with the military, he traveled the country with his brothers for a while seeing this great nation. During the 60’s he attended barber school in New York, worked moving furniture in Ohio, operated forklifts and large machinery in California, and worked at the Treasury Department in DC.
Melvin arrived in Williamsburg forty-six years ago, in 1974 to visit his sister Mrs. Rubena Wilson, who was a school teacher at Bruton Heights and never left. He met her neighbors, Helen & Bubba Tucker, Ernestine and Eddie Givens, Pauline and Lewis Washington, made many friends, and soon felt “right at home.”
Rubena’s husband died and Melvin found himself being a “Father Figure” to her adopted children, Jackie, and Johnnie Wilson. It was also during this time that Melvin began his employment at the College of William & Mary. He worked his way up through the ranks of Laboratory Instrument Maker in the Physics Department and was soon known as the resident subject matter expert both at William & Mary and at Jefferson Labs in Newport News, VA. The professors and students soon came to him first for any special projects, knowing that it would be done “right the first time”. He loved his job and ended up retiring from William & Mary in 2003 after thirty-two years of dedication to the Physics Department there and many special projects at Jefferson Labs.
In 1976, he married the love of his life, Ethel Frazier, and shortly thereafter bought his sister, Rubena’s house when she moved back home to Rocky Mount, Virginia. Melvin became a father to Michelle “Paige”, Nicole “Nicky”, and Melvin Jr. “Sporty”. He provided a spiritual and loving home for his family and has left a legacy for which we can all be proud.
He loved the Lord, family, and friends and often said, “I would not feel right if someone needed assistance and I didn’t try to help them.”
He was preceded in death by his parents, seven brothers, and two sisters. He is survived by his wife of forty-three years, Ethel Woods; daughters, Michelle Edwards, of Williamsburg, and Nicole Woods, of Occoquan; son, Melvin Woods Jr., of Williamsburg; three grandchildren, Damon Edwards Jr., of Germantown, Maryland, Christyn Edwards, of Charlottesville, Virginia, and Alyssa Warren, of Occoquan, Virginia; sister, Shirley Joe, of Richmond, Virginia; a very special sister-in-law, Christa Woods, of Hampton, Virginia; many nieces and nephews that he loved as if they were his own; that adoration may have made him their “Favorite Uncle”; and a host of other loving relatives and friends.
A service to celebrate Melvin’s life will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, March 21, 2020, at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church, Williamsburg. Interment to follow in Cedar Grove Cemetery. Family and friends are to assemble at the church by 10:30 a.m. Mr. Woods may be viewed from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Friday in the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Melvin Woods Cancer Memorial Fund.
Professional services entrusted to the staff of Whiting’s Funeral Home, 7005 Pocahontas Trail, Williamsburg, Virginia 23185. 757-229-3011. whitingsfuneralhome.com
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