|Birth: ||Nov. 18, 1929|
|Death: ||Nov. 3, 2012|
Madison Tong Woo
Madison Tong Woo, 82, of Martinez, Georgia, passed away on Saturday, November 3rd, after an extended illness. Born on November 18, 1929, in Augusta, Georgia, he attended Richmond County schools and graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in San Antonio, Texas, in 1947. Mr. Woo was a successful entrepreneur who began with the inheritance from his father of a small neighborhood grocery store on Wrightsboro Road. He went on to open another neighborhood grocery, become a successful insurance salesman, started several Chinese restaurants, and owned a convenience store. He was proud to have been named a lifetime member of the insurance industry's Million Dollar Roundtable.
In 1970, Mr. Woo was elected as a Richmond County Commissioner and as such was the first Asian -American to hold an elected office in the county. In his role as head of the Parks and Recreation Department he helped create many recreational facilities throughout the county. After his term ended he continued his support through sponsorship of men's and women's softball and basketball teams
As a private citizen he was active in community organizations and served in leadership positions such as president of the Augusta Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, district governor of the Lions Club International and president of the National Hills Lions Club. As a member of St. Mark United Methodist he served in various positions and remained a devoted member of the Chancel Choir for nearly 50years. He was involved with Richmond County and Columbia County Republican Clubs. He supported many causes and charities through fundraising (selling brooms and parking cars during the Masters) and donations (American Cancer Society).
Mr. Woo is survived by his wife of 62 years Lessie Jo Hillis Woo, his daughters Linda Bellamy (Allen) of Charlotte, North Carolina; Cindy Pollard (Andy) of Appling, Georgia, and son Madison Woo, Jr. (Jill) of Annapolis, Maryland. His eight grandchildren and five great grandchildren were a source of much joy and happiness. He will be missed by many and remembered by all.
Services were held on Tuesday, November 6, 2012, at Thomas Poteet and Son Funeral Home at 214 Davis Road at 3:00. Reverend Charles Broome officiated. Pallbearers were Coke Geddings, Grant Loo, Jerry Mobley, Thurman Norville, Johnny Smith, Gene Tom, Brian Woo, and Truman Woo. Honorary pallbearers were members of the St. Mark Faith Discussion Sunday School Class and National Hills Lions Club.
Thomas Poteet & Son Funeral Directors, 214 Davis Rd., Augusta, GA 30907 (706) 364-8484. Please sign the guestbook at www.thomaspoteet.com
Colleagues and family describe Madison Woo as a civic-minded family man with a legacy of public
"There were a lot of people whose lives he touched and we're grateful for that," his daughter, Linda Bellamy, said Monday. "That's the legacy he leaves to us."
Woo, Richmond County's first Asian-American district commissioner and a leader in creating new county parks, died Saturday after an extended illness. He was 82.
Born in Augusta to Chinese immigrants, Woo was raised in his parents' grocery store in Laney-Walker neighborhood, near University Hospital. His Chinese heritage played a large part in his life and the traditional holiday celebrations, such as Chinese New Year, were passed on to his children.
That exposure remains a point of pride among his children and grandchildren, Bellamy said.
"Even as that aspect of our heritage is smaller (now), it's no less important, she said.
Woo's decision to run for office in 1970 initially surprised his family, but they accepted it as a natural progression of his community involvement. While serving on the commission, Woo was instrumental in drafting the first master plan for the county's parks. He also served as a guiding hand behind the consolidation of the city and county recreation departments, decades before the major consolidation of the 1990s.
"It was his smooth, quiet leadership that kept feathers from getting ruffled," said Tommy Boyles, who was assistant director of the county recreation department at the time.
Tom Beck, the former director of the Parks and Recreation Department, said Woo's legacy was in the number of youth sports teams he sponsored.
"He knew that it was a good investment in the community," Beck said. "That shows what a great man he was."
Bellamy said that although her father had several enterprises – from his duties as commissioner to restaurants he operated – he paid attention to the task at hand.
"He's always been on his own time clock," Bellamy said. Though his children would criticize him for being slow, they later realized "he was the most patient person. Whatever he was doing, he was into it 100 percent."
Woo is survived by his wife of 62 years, Lessie Jo Hillis Woo; three children; eight grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
Created by: Bill Waters
Record added: Nov 03, 2012
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