Samuel James Woods went home to be with the Lord February 3, 2023. He was just shy of his 80th birthday. He was born February 25, 1943 in Ypsilanti, Michigan to Stanley and Josephine (Gibson) Woods. He was a graduate of Deerfield High School and Michigan State University. He received his PhD from Purdue University.
Sam’s love of his family farm in Michigan inspired his professional career. First, an agricultural extension agent, then a professor at Ohio State’s Agricultural Technical Institute (ATI) in Wooster, Sam educated the next generation of family farmers. His dedication to education included hosting students from Burma and traveling with students to regional conferences. Sam established the Land Lab at ATI.
Sam married his high school sweetheart, Lila Libstaff, in December of 1965. Together, they raised 3 children and spent many wonderful vacations at their beloved cottage on Higgins Lake, Michigan. He instilled a love and care of the land and the lake in his children and grandchildren. He enjoyed fishing on the lake.
Sam had a lifelong interest in trains – in their history and in model railroading – creating beautiful layouts, including a garden railroad, which has delighted his grandchildren for over two decades. Sam was a member of the New York Central Historical Society.
Sam was active at his home church, Salem Lutheran of Wooster, Ohio, serving on the church council and often lending his beautiful tenor voice to the Christmas service.
Sam is survived by his wife, Lila, children, Matt (Sondra) Woods of Wooster, Ohio, Tom (Deidra) Woods of Bethesda, Maryland, and Julie (Matt) McFarland of Glen Echo, Maryland, grandchildren, Evan, Olivia, Gibson, Lilly, and Ford, his sister-in-law, Rita Woods, and many nieces and nephews.
Services will be held on Wednesday, February 8, 2023 at 11:00 AM at Salem Lutheran Church, 4873 Cleveland Rd., Wooster with Rev Dr. Allan Nathan officiating. A private burial will be in Deerfield, Michigan.
Friends will be received on Tuesday from 5:00-7:00 PM at McIntire, Bradham & Sleek Funeral Home, 216 E. Larwill St., Wooster.
Contributions may be directed to Salem Lutheran Church, 4873 Cleveland Rd., Wooster, OH 44691 or to the Alzheimer’s Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave, 17th Floor, Chicago, IL 60601.
Online condolences may be left for the family at www.mcintirebradhamsleek.com
As parents of Sam’s daughter-in-law, Sondra, we have developed a true friendship with Sam and Lila over the past 31 years. Many visits, day trips, birthdays and holidays will be remembered for fun and laughter as well as very serious discussions. We will miss the many sides of Sam we have come to know. We will stay connected to Lila as before. Thanks be to God for the rest and peace given to Sam following what were possibly the three most difficult years of his life.
My grandpa was the kindest most caring person i have ever met. He would always be so joyful to see my brothers and I. He would give us the biggest hugs. Trips to the lake, sleeping in the RV, stories of bigfoot at the lake are some of my favorite memories with him.
What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful man. We never never met Sam, but his daughter Julie and her family are our dear friends. Our deepest sympathies to Julie and her mother and brothers, her husband, Matt, and children, Gibson, Lilly and Ford and the extended family. May Sam rest in the eternal peace of our Lord and may you all be comforted by your memories.
To Sam’s Family and Friends, Our deepest sympathies go out to you. May God, and the many good memories, sustain you; now and also in the future.. Our thoughts and prayers are for you and your families. Sincere condolences from Art Beerys, Smithville, Ohio
So sorry to hear of your families loss.
We have know Sam and his family for many years. He will be sadly missed for many summers to come.
To the Woods family: I had the pleasure to work with Sam for many years at ATI. He was a dedicated instructor who cared for his students and agriculture.
stan dave sam solved world poblems with simple solutions around higgins lake bonfire
Sorry to hear of Sam’s passing. I remember Sam and Lila and my mom and dad always together at church and involved in so many church activities. Learning is his passing brings up memories of my own parents. Lila and Julie (Matt and Tom) prayers with you all
I am sorry about Sam’s passing. He lived across the street from my grandparents, Weldon and Iva Smith in Deerfield when we were growing up. He and my six siblings attended and graduated from the same school. I always remember Sammy standing at the railroad crossing in town by the elevator, watching the trains.
I am so sorry for your loss. Dr. Woods was my advisor and Agronomy instructor at ATI. Class of ‘87. He did have a passion for crop production, and was a great influence on his students. I went on to main campus for a BS in Horticulture and started my own farming operation to feed my passion of growing crops. This has become a passion I passed on to my son and as he gets older and wants to continue the farm, I often think of my mentors from my early years and am thankful for each one of them and try to pass on the same wisdom they shared with me with the next generation.
It’s been almost two months since my grandpa went home to be with the Lord, and not a day goes by that I don’t think of him and my family who grieves the loss of him. It is difficult to come to terms with the fact that I’ won’t get to spend anymore time with grandpa in this life. I miss his voice and his warmth. He brought a calming presence to every family gathering. He was just happy to be there and to be around us. I want to carry on his legacy by being slow to anger, gentle with my words and compassionate to everyone. Grandpa was gentle and had a heart of gold. I hope I can be more like him.