Jun. 8, 1920 Huntington Huntington County Indiana, USA
Oct. 8, 2012 Fort Wayne Allen County Indiana, USA
JOSEPH MILTON WOODS, 92, passed away Monday, Oct. 8, 2012, at Visiting Nurse & Hospice Home, Fort Wayne. Born on June 8, 1920, in Huntington, he was the son of the late Harry M. and Bertha (Becker) Woods. He was a graduate of Huntington College and Manchester College (BS in Music Education). He served in the Army Air Corp during World War II (1942 to 1945), was stationed in camps around the U.S., achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant and became an Army Air Corp Band Director. He received his Master of Music in Piano Performance from Columbia University in New York (1950) and earned his EdS degree (equivalent to a Doctorate in Education) from Ball State University in 1978. From 1946 to 1972, he was the Music Director at Central Catholic High School, Fort Wayne, where he served as the band, choral and orchestra director. He was band director at Bishop Dwenger High School, Fort Wayne from 1972 to 1980. While at Dwenger, he also served as Assistant Principal and Dean of Students. One of his proudest moments as a music educator was in 1972 when the Central Catholic High School Marching Irish band was invited to participate in the Friendship Games Band Competition in Munich Germany. They received excellent ratings and toured Germany and parts of Europe. He was a member of the viola section of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic from 1948 to 1950. He would often tell the story of how the Conductor Igor Bruketoff personally came over to Central Catholic to ask Joseph to play with the orchestra. A well known and respected musician in the Catholic Church, he served many parishes in the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese, including Precious Blood, Queen of Angels and St. Vincent dePaul. He was the director of music at St. Vincent's from 1957 until 1980, establishing the St. Vincent's Chorale which made one recording. He was instrumental in acquiring the present Wicks pipe organ that is still in use at St. Vincent's parish. He would at times, throughout the years, assist as organist and choir director at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Fort Wayne. He also founded the Vade Mecum Men's Choir, which performed from 2001 to 2007 with sacred concerts at the Cathedral every summer, sang for Masses at various parishes in the area, and made several CD recordings. He was a lifetime member of the American Federation of Musicians, Local 58. He was the Founder and Director of the Fort Wayne Summer Symphony, which offered their annual "Music Under the Stars" series at Foellinger Theatre almost every summer from 1956 until 1992. On Aug. 20, 2006, he was honored by the city of Fort Wayne with a proclamation naming that date, "Fort Wayne Summer Symphony 50th Anniversary Day." He was very proud of the fact that the Fort Wayne Summer Symphony was the first fully union symphony orchestra of Fort Wayne. He was also a lifetime member of the Fort Wayne Downtown Optimist Club, serving as its President on three different occasions in the 1990's. After retiring from education, He became a Realtor with Oak Hill Realty. He dedicated his life to God and prayer. His greatest joy was his wife and family. He was always there to listen and support them and assure they had what they needed to be successful. He married Betty Zane Gallagher on Aug. 26, 1946. Together they had eight children, Milton (Audrey) Woods, Michael (Julie) Woods, Jeanne (Larry) Clark, Stephen Woods (deceased), Timothy (Jennifer) Woods, Mary (Steve) Ditlinger, Karla (Jim) Lamley, and Anne (Tim) Kennedy. He was the brother of Marcus Woods, Mary Margaret (Wagner) and Michael Woods (deceased). He has 11 nieces and nephews; 23 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. "Even in death, he was more concerned about his wife and family than he was about himself." Mass for Christian Burial is 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 12, 2012, at Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 1122 S. Calhoun, Fort Wayne, with calling one hour prior. Msgr. Robert Schulte officiating. Visitation is from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012 at D.O. McComb & Sons Lakeside Park Funeral Home, 1140 Lake Ave., with rosary recited at 7:30 p.m. In honor of Joseph, please direct gifts and donations to the Woods family.
Published in Fort Wayne Newspapers on October 10, 2012