2016-09-08 / Obituaries

James Alexander Woodward

James Alexander Woodward, 82 of Cedar Park, passed away Tuesday, August 30, 2016 in Dallas. A memorial service was held on Saturday, September 3, 2016 at St. John’s United Methodist Church in Rockdale with Pastor Adam Straznicky officiating.

“Bye, Daddy, don’t fall off the telephone pole!” our children chimed as my husband left for work.

In the evening, when they heard his car turn into the driveway, they rushed to meet him. “Kiss me first! Kiss me first!” they’d implore.

“Daddy” was James A. Woodward. The Lord sent him to us, granting us one of His finest examples of fatherhood. And now, the Lord has called James back home.

Jim’s story started in Jarrell, Texas, on July 6, 1934. Lola and A.M. Woodward, Sr., greeted their tenth of 12 children—a third son. This son was named after his two grandfathers, James Alexander.

He started life on the farm, where he enjoyed milking the cow but not picking the cotton. The family sold the farm and moved to Temple when Jim was in elementary school. He grew up with a strong work ethic, working numerous jobs throughout his teens. Once he turned 18, he started a career with Southwestern Bell Telephone Company in July of 1954. In 1957, the United States Armed Forces needed him. Although his two years of active duty with the Army interrupted his telephone career, Jim was able to pick up where he’d left off once he’d obtained his honorable discharge. When he and Francesca married, he was an un-located lineman. Jim was on a construction crew, and they moved frequently— three times a week in one instance. He bid on a job opening that would keep them settled, and they moved to Kingsville, Texas, in February of 1963. They were there until August 1968, at which time Jim was promoted to management. That came with a transfer to Brownsville, Texas. In 1975, he was transferred to Rockdale. Another promotion took them to Victoria, then Seguin, and then Taylor. They had not sold their house in Rockdale, so they moved back into it and Jim began commuting to Taylor. Jim retired from the telephone company in December of 1991. Kingsville and Rockdale were their favorite places. They were active in the Episcopal churches and did some volunteer work. They also had many friends with which they shared good times. In Rockdale, Jim spent several years experiencing the satisfaction (and the frustrations) of being a Little League coach and manager.

After a couple of years of retirement, Jim grew restless and he began a second career with Enterprise Rent-A-Car. By the time his recent illness prevented him from working, he had been with them over 21 years.

He was highly intelligent and somewhat literary. He could quote Rudyard Kipling and Robert Service. Even more amazing, he could recite “The Highwayman” in its entirety. Jim was very opinionated; let’s not go there. He was also impatient in many situations. He had a shy nature, but tried to not let it be obvious.

Jim had unconditional love for his kids and grandkids. He was generous and mostly forgiving, although he didn’t always forgive the Dallas Cowboys or the San Antonio Spurs their mistakes.

“Deda” was the name that Tina, the oldest grandchild, created when she reversed the syllables of “Daddy.” He enjoyed nothing more than watching our children, their children, and theirs participate in a number of sports. Deda took pride in these and their many other activities and accomplishments.

Another source of pride for Jim was the oak trees he planted in the yard in Rockdale, which were mere twigs when he planted them in 1975 and have now grown to tall, shady trees. He could be a little boastful when he would point out the trees and tell anyone around how he was responsible for their being there.

As to why Francesca loved him, it might have been his dimples or his smile, or his dimples when he smiled. It could have been that thick, wavy hair, perfect for running her fingers through.

But no, it was that he was clever and witty. The children at least three generations down have inherited that wittiness. So even though Francesca has cried over losing him and will likely cry again, she can be brought to laughter when surrounded by these kids of all ages.

James Alexander Woodward was preceded in death by his parents, A.M. Woodward, Sr. and Lola Allen Woodward; brothers, Kenneth Allen Woodward and Col. Joe Lynn Woodward; sisters, Nita Everett, Arleigh Rathburn, Patsy Ellison and Nell Aspin; and several nieces and nephews.

He is survived by his wife, Francesca Woodward of Cedar Park; children, Angie Geneva Gibbons, James Alexander Woodward, Jr., Susan Scott Henderson, Jamie Francesca Woodward Buzan, Col. Joel Anthony Woodward, Christopher Allen Woodward, and Mary Louisa Woodward; grandchildren, Tina Henderson Woodward and husband Andy, Justin Shane Henderson and wife Lauren, Scott Gregory Buzan and wife Jenni, Casey Buzan Pierce and husband Dusty, Grace, Sydney and Lauren Woodward, Zachary James and Cale Jordan Garza, Blayce Alexander, Tanner Ray and Riley Zayne Woodward; and greatgrandchildren, Maggie, Louise and Charlotte Woodward, Carter and Gavin Pierce, Grayson and Brooks Buzan, Camdyn Garza, and another Pierce baby coming in January; brother, A.M. Woodward, Jr. (Woody) of Austin; and sisters, Mary Brannam of Rockdale, and Helen Sanderford, Sarah Beth James and Peggy McClung, all of Temple.

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