Melvin C. Woods was born in Rocky Mount, Virginia on March 12, 1934 to Mary Carlie Stone and Roy Benjamin Woods and earned his wings on Thursday, March 12, 2020 at home surrounded by his wife, son and daughters in Williamsburg, VA.
Melvin was born into a large family, eight boys and three girls in all. In a time when it was frowned upon for people of color to be educated, “Mom Carlie”, a former school teacher, ensured all the Woods siblings started school knowing how to read and write. At a very young age Melvin joined Holy Trinity Baptist Church. He graduated from Lee M. Wade High School in 1951 and drove the school bus for a short time afterwards before leaving home to join the U.S. Air Force. He served his country from 1954 to 1958 and received the Army Occupation Medal (Germany) and a Good Conduct Medal.
Once Melvin returned stateside from overseas with the military, he traveled the country with his brothers for a while seeing this great nation. During the 60’s he attended barber school in New York, he worked moving furniture in Ohio, he operated fork lifts and large machinery in California, and he worked at the Treasury Department in DC.
Melvin arrived in Williamsburg 46 years ago, in 1974 to visit his sister Mrs. Rubena Wilson, who was a school teacher at Bruton Heights, and never left. He met her neighbors, Helen & Bubba Tucker, Ernestine and Eddie Givens, Pauline and Lewis Washington, made many friends, and soon felt “right at home.”
Rubena’s husband died and Melvin found himself being a “Father Figure” to her adopted children, Jackie and Johnnie Wilson. It was also during this time that Melvin began his employment at the College of William and Mary. He worked his way up through the ranks of Laboratory Intstrument Maker in the Physics Department and was soon known as the resident subject matter expert both at William and Mary and at Jefferson Labs in Newport News, VA. The professors and students soon came to him first for any special projects, knowing that it would be done “right the first time”. He loved his job and ended up retiring from William and Mary in 2003 after 32 years of dedication to the Physics Department there and many special projects at Jefferson Labs.
In 1976 he married the love of his life, Ethel (Frazier), and shortly thereafter bought his sister, Rubena’s home when she moved back home to Rocky Mount, Va. Melvin became a father to Michelle (Paige), Nicole (Nicky) and Melvin Jr. (Sporty). He provided a spiritual and loving home for his family and has left a legacy for which we can all be proud.
He loved the Lord, Family and Friends and often said, “I would not feel right if someone needed assistance and I didn’t try to help them.”
He was preceded in death by his mom, dad, seven brothers and two sisters. He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Ethel Woods, daughters Michelle Edwards (Williamsburg) and Nicole Woods (Occoquan) and a son Melvin Woods, Jr. (Williamsburg). He also leaves to cherish his memory three grandchildren, Damon Edwards, Jr. (Germantown, MD), Christyn Edwards (Charlottesville, VA) and Alyssa Warren (Occoquan, VA), one sister Shirley Joe (Richmond, VA) and one very special sister in—law, Christa Woods (Hampton, VA). He also loved his many nieces and nephews as if they were his own; that adoration may have made him their “Favorite Uncle”.