James (Jim) Charles Woods passed away at the age of 98. He died Thursday, February 16th, 2023 at the Farwell Care and Rehabilitation Center surrounded by family. On July 8, 1924, Jim was born to Charlie G. and Lucy Moss Woods in Grady, New Mexico. Jim would often reminisce about his early years. He had memories of riding in the back of a horse drawn wagon with his brothers and sister to go shopping in Clovis. A trip to town would take two days. The family had to stop and camp out overnight in the Frio Draw. He remembered walking home from Grady at night and seeing lanterns hanging outside of dugouts made of dirt and tumble weeds. Throughout his life, he could recall most of the families who homesteaded on nearly every quarter section around his house. By the age of 8, Jim could milk cows and churn butter faster than his mom and dad. By 14, Jim was a hand at driving tractors and operating all types of machinery. In high school, Jim worked for the largest farmer in Curry County and was made foreman over a harvesting crew of grown men. Jim would often recall the highlight of his senior year in high school. His basketball team achieved a notable victory taking 4th at the state championship over all school divisions playing half-court style basketball. Jim graduated high school in 1944, married Margie Hellen Queener on June 1, 1944, and in July of 1944 enlisted to serve in WWII. Jim was a member of the 96th Division, 381st Infantry, M Company 1st Platoon, 1st Squad. From July 1944 until the war was won, Jim fought on front lines, as a No. 1 Machine Gunner, taking the high ground, shouldering the machine gun to cover the troops advancing behind him. After the war ended and treaties were signed, Jim was honorably discharged in February 1946. When he came home from the war, Jim was interviewed and quoted as saying: “If you were going to get killed, you might as well get killed going forward. No use being killed sitting still.” Jim exemplified all the qualities of our country’s “Greatest Generation.” Jim would often tell his family, “A lot of good men didn’t come home, so I tried to honor their memory by being the best I could.” Despite his hardheaded streak, Jim was liked and respected by his neighbors. Good fences make good neighbors and Jim built the best. The five-strand barb wire tamped wood post fence built by Jim were strong, true, and straight. He had a calling—he was a farmer. “The Good Lord only made so much land, so I owed it to Him to take care of it.” It was often said, “No one could out work Jim Woods” and it remained true well into his 90s. A work ethic and strength he passed on to his sons and grandchildren, who are all successful in their own right. Jim spent his life farming, ranching, and serving the community he loved. He served on the Grady School Board, Curry County Farm Service Agency Board and held many offices within the Grady United Methodist Church. He was an active member of New Mexico Wheat Growers and the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union. Jim would often say, and Margie would agree, that his greatest accomplishment was marrying her, his wife of 78 years. Together they lived a marriage of devotion, loving each other in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, until his final day.
Jim is survived by his wife, Margie, son Michael and wife Maureen, son Pat and wife Eva. He is also survived by his granddaughter Loralee (Mackenzie), and seven grandsons, Shannon (Stephanie), Toby, Charlie (Jen), Derek (Michele), Adam (Chelsa), Brandon (Haley), and Ryan (Ashlie) along with 12 great-grandchildren.
Services will be held on Monday, February 20th. All are welcome. The graveside service will be officiated by Curtis Allen, with military honors, and will be at 10:00 AM, followed by lunch and a celebration of life service at Allen Hall in Grady, New Mexico. In lieu of flowers, please send in memory contributions to Grady Methodist Church, P.O. Box 21, Grady, NM 88120. Donations made in Jim’s honor will be used to help those in need.