John Woods, 47, a former professional umpire, died last week, finally succumbing to a serious traumatic brain injury suffered in an automobile accident in 2004 in Caracas, Venezuela.
He is survived by his parents Dick and Sharon Woods, together with his siblings Lisa Kamps and her husband Spencer, and Jimmy and Doug Woods. John is also survived by loving aunts and uncles, his nephew Charlie Kamps and his nieces Annie, Maggie, and Samantha Kamps and many cousins. A very gregarious man, John made friends in all walks of life and will be sorely missed.
Born in Phoenix, on May 13, 1973 John attended Madison Meadows School and graduated from Brophy College Preparatory in 1991. After a couple of fun years as an Arizona Wildcat, John turned his attention to his passion, baseball umpiring. His first professional assignments were in the independent Northern League in 1995, and his best story from that season was calling Daryl Strawberry out on strikes. He worked in the Texas/Louisiana League the following season and then broke into organized baseball in the Arizona League. After successful completion of the Jim Evans Academy of Professional Umpiring in 1996, John worked in the Northwest, Midwest and Florida State Leagues before spending three seasons in the Class AA Southern League. When his tragic accident occurred; he was preparing for his second season of winter ball in Venezuela. John had been assigned to the AAA International League and his prospects for a position in Major League Baseball were excellent when his career abruptly ended, John’s Catholic faith was always important to him and he was a dedicated volunteer minister at St. Francis Xavier Parish. He also enjoyed a special bond with his autistic brother, Jimmy, for whom he was a caretaker for much of his adult life.
Friends are welcome for a 2:00 p.m., Friday, February 19, 2021 Funeral Mass at St. Francis Xavier Church, 4715 North Central Avenue, Phoenix. A private burial service will follow. For those unable to attend the Mass you may view the service via live stream at: www.sfxphx.org/livestream. In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations to SARRC (Southwest Autism research & Resource Center) “in memory of John Woods, beloved brother to Jim Woods” at www.autismcenter.org or 300 N. 18th St., Phoenix, AZ 85006. Condolences may be expressed at www.whitneymurphyfuneralhome.com.
Very sorry to hear of John’s passing and your loss. John was a great friend and I really enjoyed Umpiring with him for the Madison Little League. He definitely found his calling. Wishing you all peace during this difficult time.
Pamela M Matanovich
I remember John well from high school and my early U of A days. John was very dynamic, bright and a lot of fun, very much his own person, in the best possible way. I remember him always being so intent on making sure that everyone was having fun and wanting to keep us all laughing (which he did, in spades). Sending love and prayers to all of you during this time.
Tonya Chapman Jones
Dear Woods Family:
I am so sorry to hear about John. You hold such a special place in my heart, and I cannot imagine what you are going through right now. I have so many memories of spending time with your family, particularly all the time spent playing with Lisa’s 3 brothers. I loved hanging out at your house because there was always so much going on. John was such a sweet, kind, funny kid and he retained those qualities as he grew up. I’ve been praying you all find peace and comfort during this time.
I love you guys,
Dear Woods Family,
We were told last evening at our Serra meeting that John passed away and there was such a gasp in the room. With his zest for life, we were all so dispointed to learn of your loss. We all remembered John making several visits to our meetings when Dick would bring him. He was definately not shy and always joined in our banter of the day. God Bless all of you and praying for strength to peddle thorugh the coming days. and weeks. May the soul of John be at peace with our Heavenly Father.
My most heartfelt condolences,
Dick and Sharon,
My deepest sympathies for you and your family. I spent many fun times with John at the umpire school when he was both a student and instructor. He had a genuine passion for umpiring and found a real home on the field. In his latter years, I had many “tough love” conversations with him and he always thanked me when the conversation ended. Deep down, he was a very kind soul. John used to kid me about working the longest game in Major League history, 8 hours and 6 minutes. I’ll join you some day, John, and we’ll go for the record!
Some day we shall understand. Until then, trust and obey!
Dr. and Mrs Sam Lidén
Dear Sharon and Dick and family,
We are so sad to hear about your loss of John. John was such a caring and loving person Over the years we met him many times when he came or left your house and we were on our daily walk. He always greeted us with a cheerful “Hi” and never failed to inquire about the well being of our TBI daughter.
Sam and Gisela Lidén
My condolences for the family of John. I attended Meadows with him and knew his when he was umpiring. He was the light of the room and a friend to so many. Prayers for all of you during this difficult time.
So sorry for your loss.
God bless and keep you at this most difficult time.
You’re in our prayers.
David & Elizabeth Olson (tennis)
Dear Woods Family,
I am so sorry for your loss. You are all in my prayers.
John and I met during high school, him at Brophy, and I attended St. Mary’s. I always enjoyed seeing and talking to John at games and at parties. He was such a great guy and always fun to be around. I always admired his passion for baseball and his drive to make his way into the umpiring profession. May God Bless Him.
Dick and Sharon and family
Words fail. So sorry for your loss.
I remember John as a happy energetic child back when we were neighbors. How amazing that he was able to follow his passion for baseball as an umpire despite his challenges.
Just heartbreaking. You are in my thoughts,
So sorry to hear about John. He was such a positive light in this world. He will be surely missed by you and the countless others whom he touched. My family’s prayers are with you and your family during this time.
I am so saddened to hear of John’s passing. I only came to know John the last few years through St. Francis Xavier Church. I trained him as an Extraordinary Minister and we had many lovely conversations. He was faith-filled and had a real devotion to St. Francis. He was always happy – especially when talking about his brother Jimmy! My sincere sympathy to the family. He will be missed.