James Cecil Woods, 81, died peacefully Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, at the Sussman Hospice House in Rockport following a period of declining health.

He was born Aug. 13, 1939 in Miami, Fla., the oldest child of the late Ester Lee Woods and Ineva Covington. Known by all who knew and loved him as Woody, he had a humble upbringing, not owning a pair of his own shoes until he was 14 years old. His children recalled him sharing stories of packing onion sandwiches to eat for his school lunch. His family worked as seasonal farmers and in carpentry.

Woody yearned for a different life for himself and when he graduated from high school, he enlisted in the Navy. He spent a year in the Navy before joining the U.S. Coast Guard. He served his country for 21 years.

When Woody enlisted in the USCG, he asked to be stationed in a warm location – asking for a post in Texas or Florida. Instead, fate brought him to Rockland.

While stationed in Rockland, Woody fell in love with his late wife, Mary Ella (Sullivan) Woods, whom he was married to for 53 years. They met while she was working at the JJ Newberry food counter and married Aug. 1, 1961. They spent their early years living in Oregon and Hawai'i, where Woody was stationed before making their permanent home in Rockland, where they raised their three children Timothy, Kate (Debbie) and Michael.

While stationed with the Coast Guard in Boston, Mass., Woody returned to Rockland on the weekends to not uproot his family. He retired from service in 1977 as an E-6 engineer.

Once retired, Woody began a second career, working for 18 years as a postman with the U.S. Postal Service. He was known as Woody the Postman by those along his route. It was during this time he earned a degree in business management from the University of Maine at Augusta.

Woody loved to travel and enjoyed several cruises with his wife and children. Together, they spent time fishing and camping with family friends. For many years, he traveled to attend family reunions in Georgia and Florida.

Woody was an avid NASCAR fan and enjoyed attending races with his son, Michael, and brother-in-law Steve Leach. He traveled to Las Vegas multiple times to enjoy the Professional Bull Rider shows held there, and loved watching it on TV with his youngest grandson, Colt, by his side. They would talk about their favorite bulls and riders, and it was a passion and bond they shared.

Woody took his final vacation in 2019 with his son, Michael. They made lasting memories traveling down the Mississippi River by paddle boat. Woody, knowing his health was declining, dubbed the trip his “final ride,” and they fist-bumped to kick off the trip.

Woody was a man of integrity and character, often doing good deeds for others without them knowing. But, more than anything, he was a devoted family man. He was a proud and loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather and would regularly tell his grandchildren “Grampy loves you a whole bunch!”

For many years, Woody was part of an early morning crew that enjoyed coffee at the Rockland McDonald’s. Spending time with Bert Vanorse and his friends was something he looked forward to daily. He spent many of his retired years building custom wooden birdhouses for friends and family members.

Woody is survived by his children Michael Woods of Rockland, Timothy Woods and Kate "Debbie" Sullivan of Warren; grandchildren Jessica, Savannah, Noah, Jett and Colt and great-grandson Joseph; former daughter-in-law Kelly Woods of South Thomaston; sister-in-law Rae Leach and her husband Steve of Union; brother-in-law Danny Sullivan and his wife Judy of St. George; long-time family friend Nancy Crockett of Owls Head; loving family members in Georgia, Florida and Alabama, as well as many nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by his wife Mary Ella Woods and her parents Albert and Mary Sullivan; parents Ester Lee Woods and Ineva Covington; step-father David Covington; siblings Wayne Woods and Hazel Cribbs and grandson Timothy Woods Jr.

He enjoyed a long friendship with the late Linwood Campbell, the late Ralph Spear and the late Victor Grindle.

Friends and relatives are invited to a walk-through visitation from 4 to 6 p.m., Thursday, March 4, at Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock St., Rockland. A celebration of his life will be held at 11 a.m., Friday, March 5. Interment at the Coughlin Memorial Cemetery will be held in June.

Those who wish can make memorial donations in Woody’s memory to the Children's Tumor Foundation, Mail Code: 6895, P.O. Box 7247, Philadelphia PA 19170-0001. The foundation’s mission is to end neurofibromatosis through research, a condition that affects his grandson.

To share a memory or condolence with Woody’s family, visit his Book of Memories at bchfh.com.