William “Bill” Woods passed away at home on March 21. Bill was born on March 6, 1938 in Gettysburg and lived most of his life there at the family farm. He was the son of David Walker and Margaret (McGaughy) Woods. A brother, David, predeceased him in 2004. His wife of 58 years, Laurel (Davis) Woods has been by his side since meeting as summer camp counselors in upstate New York when they were in college.
A 1956 graduate of Gettysburg High School, Bill received his teaching degree from West Chester University in 1960. His first and only job landed him at the Carlisle Intermediate High School where he spent the next twenty-eight years as a physical education teacher and head coach of the Carlisle Thundering Herd wrestling team.
In his tenure as Carlisle’s head wrestling coach, Bill spent endless days and evenings preparing his boys for success both on the mat and, most important, in the world. Sportsmanship and a pursuit of excellence were the hallmarks of Bill’s coaching. He created the Carlisle Holiday Wrestling Tournament, which became a highly regarded winter competition, as well as launched a wrestling program in the Carlisle elementary schools. Bill shared his expertise at innumerable summer clinics throughout Pennsylvania and organized many AAU wrestling tournaments.
Bill leaves behind him the winningest coaching record for wrestling at Carlisle. He was 1977 District 3 Wrestling Coach of the Year and was inducted into the District 3 Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame in 1984.
As well as his passion for wrestling, Bill was very involved as Carlisle’s junior varsity football coach for many years and you could also find him at many different sporting events, serving as a referee, starter, or timer. But after almost three decades as a fixture in the Carlisle sports scene, Bill traded in his whistle in 1988 for a tractor and flock of sheep. He spent the next 25 years happily raising Suffolk and Dorset sheep on the farm where he was born in Gettysburg.
A lifelong member of the Lower Marsh Creek Presbyterian Church, Bill was also an Eagle Scout who had traveled to the 1953 Boy Scout Jamboree in California. He was a loyal fan of the Nittany Lions football and wrestling teams. Finally, Bill always enjoyed attending various fine arts productions throughout South Central PA with Laurel. Bill also enjoyed the great outdoors; hunting and fishing were two of his favorite pastimes, along with camping.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Woods is survived by a son and daughter-in-law, Scott and Blythe Woods of Gettysburg and daughter, Mary Woods and her husband, Brian McCloskey, of Pound Ridge, New York. He leaves three doted-upon grandchildren, Bret Woods, Cara Woods, and Sara McCloskey.
A Celebration of Life will take place on Saturday, April 13 at 11 a.m. at the Lower Marsh Creek Presbyterian Church at 1865 Knoxlyn Road, Gettysburg. Friends and colleagues of Mr. Woods are cordially invited to commemorate his decades of service to education, sports, and fellowship in South Central Pennsylvania. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Foundation at www.alzfdn.org.