Eugene (Gene) H. Woods, 78, died July 13, 2004. He was born Sept. 28, 1925 in Torrance, Calif. to Lonnie and Nellie Woods.
The Woodses moved their family, when Gene was 4 years old, to a ranch in Lyons Valley, southeast of San Diego. Mr. Woods always loved the life he and his three brothers lived on the ranch.
After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, Mr. Woods moved to Willcox, where he went to work for AT&T and met and married his wife of 57 years, Betty Faye Byrd. He spent a few years traveling with his wife while working with AT&T. After having two daughters, he transferred to Pacific Telephone in California. He retired from PACBell in Escondido, Calif. in 1980.
While living in Escondido, the Woodses got involved in off-road racing during the sport's inception. Mr. Woods raced in the Baja 500 twice, the Mexican 1000 and three Mint 400s, plus several other small competitive races. When the sport became too commercialized, he turned his talent toward woodcarving. He had carved his own toys as a child on the ranch. He specialized in carving eagles and Indians, and won many ribbons and awards showing his work in different art shows. Many of his pieces have been sold privately and many pieces he has given to family members and friends.
After retiring, the Woodses lived in a few places, finally settling in Payson.
Survivors include his wife, Betty; two daughters, Connie Siplyak of Cardiff, Calif. and Sandra (Dennis) Kirksey of Payson; five grandchildren, Stacy Napolitano, Michael (Katie) Siplyak, Adam (Lisa) Siplyak, Jacob (Wendy) Siplyak and Gina Miller; three great-grandchildren, Cassie, Joey and Shelby; brothers, Don (Annalee) Woods of Jacumba, Calif. and Richard (Gloria) Woods of Cody, Wyo.; and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents and older brother, Oscar.
A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Friday, July 16 at Payson United Methodist Church, 414 N. Easy St.
Arrangements handled by Messinger Payson Funeral Home.