Calvin Woods, civil engineering professor emeritus, passes away

C WoodsDr. Calvin Woods, professor emeritus in the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering at Texas A&M University, passed away May 30.

He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering at the University of Houston in May 1955, and began working as a practicing civil engineer. In 1957, he began his teaching career at the Colorado School of Mines and two years later continued teaching at Lamar State College of Technology. In May 1961, he received a Master of Science degree in civil engineering at the University of Colorado, and in January 1964, a doctorate in civil engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. Woods served as professor and department head of the civil engineering department at The University of Texas at El Paso from 1964-72, when he accepted a position at Texas A&M. He served as a professor in the civil engineering department at Texas A&M from 1972 until he retired in 2000. At that time, he was granted emeritus status and continued to teach undergraduate and graduate courses until his final retirement in 2014.

Woods loved teaching. He loved being in the company of other teachers and working with the staff who supported them, but most of all he loved students. He never lost his passion for teaching. However, in the late 1980s he found a second vocation about which he became equally passionate. He became a part-time lay pastor in the United Methodist Church and served in that capacity for more than 25 years. Most of that time he served as the pastor of the Wheelock Methodist Church, but he was also appointed an interim pastor to churches in Lott, Chilton, Millican and Marquez.

In the late 1970s, after becoming a licensed pilot and instructor, he made the first of several trips to Africa to serve as a missionary pilot for the Presbyterian Church. As part of that mission, he flew into remote African villages to pick up villagers who were ill and transported them to hospitals. During one of his last trips to Africa he became associated with the Wings of Caring program of the United Methodist Church. He later arranged for an African man from Zaire to come to Hearne, Texas, where he trained the man as a pilot and instructor so that he could return to the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) and train other Africans in order to perpetuate this valuable program.

Calvin Woods | August 2, 1929 - May 30, 2017