Thursday, September 6, 2012
Woods lives life to fullest
By SUE WATSON
Jamie Woods of Holly Springs is a woman of many interests.
From Pontotoc County, the 11th child and last child of a farming family, Woods started life simply and worked her way up. She had six brothers.
In high school, she joined the 4-H Club and won state competition that allowed her to attend the National 4-H Club Congress in Chicago in 1939. All 4-H projects that won state were eligible for final judging in Chicago.
A photograph taken at the national convention once hung above her kitchen counter. Hundreds of 4-H’ers were lined up for a group photo. Woods donated the photo to the Marshall County 4-H chapter and director Lemon Phelps.
After graduating from high school, Woods attended “the W” – a college originally for women that now is co-ed and has been renamed the Mississippi University for Women.
Woods said there were not many careers for women at the time – teaching being the primary career. But home economics was a popular career for women who went to “the W” at the time because there were other jobs besides teaching home economics in high school.
One of her twin sisters convinced her to study home economics because with it she could do more than teach.
After graduation, Woods worked at Corinth with the Mississippi University Extension Office and led Alcorn and Tishomingo counties’ 4-H.
Later she became 4-H agent and Home Extension agent in Marshall County.
“I worked with 4-H in the morning, women’s demonstration clubs in the afternoon, and with women and men in community meetings at night,” Woods said.
In that day, a female could not work with Extension if married, she said. Later during World War II, women could be married but not be pregnant. Then the restrictions on women were dropped.
But she dropped the Extension first so she could have children.
Woods knew Lessie Lee Davis, who worked with the 4-H Club for black youth, and they were personal friends. Davis helped Woods prepare for her wedding in Pontotoc. She married Luell Woods Jr., and together they had two sons, Robert Woods and the late Charles Woods.
Not long after serving with the Marshall County Extension office, Woods was asked to start the home economics department at the Holly Springs High School. She had a teacher’s license and agreed to teach one class. The second year she agreed to teach all day. But that ended her career as a teacher. She said the classroom was too confining for her.
She started selling World Book Encyclopedias and was offered a district sales job but it would have meant she would have to live on the southern end of the state. So Woods went into the real estate business.
“When I found out I could sell, I went into real estate – my real love,” Woods said.
She was an independent real estate broker and worked the northern end of the state from Highway 82 northward.
“I worked from 1960 in real estate until I couldn’t go,” she said. “I really loved that most – meeting people.”
Woods’ parents farmed. Her father, James Russell Naugher, and mother, Lora Lee King Naugher, were wonderful parents who lived long happy, productive lives. Her mother was also featured in the local paper and she told the reporter, “Hard work and having children won’t hurt anybody.”
Woods remembers milking six cows before school and again after school during her years on their farm in Pontotoc County. She also served as water boy and carried water to the field on horseback.
Woods developed the subdivision she lives in -- a 26-lot subdivision called Oakview. She was contractor of a number of the houses built there, including the one she lives in. She sold land on which Marshall Academy was built. And her sons went into real estate buying up large tracts of land and developing them.
Woods still enjoys a game of bridge, loves music, and most of all she loves to watch Mississippi State beat Ole Miss.
“I played football with the children in the yard,” she said.
Woods raised her boys mostly by herself.
“They were a great pleasure to me,” she said. “I wouldn’t take anything for being their mama.”
She still plays bridge with her friends who have gotten together over the years. First she would play bridge at Linda’s Restaurant where eight to 10 tables would be set up on bridge night.
She also loves her church, First United Methodist Church in Holly Springs. And she loves to play bridge with her partners in town – Frances Buchanan, Pat Stubbs, Jean Anne Jones, Martha Jane Jones, Ethel Peters, Nita Gilstrap, Martha Ruth Leonard, Hallie Chatham and Ann McClatchy.
Having lived a full life, Woods has no regrets. She is happy, has a bubbly personality, and is non-pretentious.
“I never get lonely here,” she said. “If anybody ever told me I would sit in this chair and be perfectly content, I would have said, ‘you’re crazy as a Betsy bug,’ ” she said. “But the Lord has been good to me.”
Mary Minor, who first knew Woods through the Extension office, is a close friend.
“She’s the kind of person who never forgets a name,” Minor said. “She always loved 4-H – it was the love of her heart.”
Ronnie Jones, former Marshall County agent, knows Woods both as a part of the Forestry Association, and as a personal friend of the whole Woods family.
“She’s a genuine person all the way around,” he said. “She’s a very good business person with a sharp pencil and she’s not bashful when it comes to her business. She’s conscientious.
“We went with her and Bob (Woods’ son) to Mississippi State ball games together. I was always proud to have her a part of the Extension family and she was proud to be associated with Mississippi State.
“Miss Jamie, she’s number one.”
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