Life Story / Obituary
Although he was taken from his loved ones too soon, David Woods made a special impact in the hearts and lives of his family and friends. He was a gifted musician who enjoyed sharing his talents with others in the community he called home throughout the majority of his life. Dave faced trials, but he did his best to weather the powerful storms in his life, looking to others for strength when he felt weak. Known as Purple Dave to some, he enjoyed sharing his musical passion with others. Dave will be forever missed.
The 1950s were an exciting time in America. Hollywood was vibrant with names like Marilyn Monroe and James Dean on the silver screen, and with Elvis Presley and his rock ’n roll music the industry was never the same. Civil rights was gaining momentum, and by the end of the decade we had welcomed Alaska and Hawaii as our 49th and 50th states. Amidst this exciting time was a time of excitement in the lives of John and E. Cary (Newbury) Woods as they announced the birth of the baby boy they named David on December 11, 1952, in Chicago, Illinois. He was the older of two children in his family as he was raised in the family home alongside his brother, Rich, who was four years younger. Dave’s father was an English professor at WMU and published several poetry books while his mother stayed home and was also very active with St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.
In many ways Dave was a young boy of his generation. He and Rich were typical brothers who got into mischief from time to time. Dave was always into music and also played some baseball. Rich got into music as well, and the two brothers had their little brother band in the basement. They primarily played 60s music as well as British Invasion. When their father took a sabbatical at UCLA for a year, Dave and his brother had a good time out in California. As a student he attended local schools including Portage Northern High School where he was primarily quiet. Dave listened to Top 40 daily from Chicago, and he also played both the guitar and the bass guitar. He stayed in town once he graduated from high school.
Life wasn’t easy for Dave. He spent lots of time in and out of the State Hospital as he battled schizophrenia. Dave’s parents did what they could to help him and were active in his life. His father took Dave to the store on a weekly basis, and his mother was there for him in other ways. Sadly, his mother died in 1983 and his father died in 1995. His brother Rich and his wife Mary stayed close to Dave, and Rich did whatever Dave wanted including getting him pizza or even a Coke. The brothers had a close relationship, and Dave enjoyed talking music with Rich since he was also a musician. They also had fun reminiscing.
Throughout his life, Dave’s interests had everything to do with music. He loved hard metal rock with Ozzie Osbourne being his favorite, and he also enjoyed Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath. Dave played some locally, usually his own stuff at at Haveys on the Mall and Club Soda among other local bars. In fact, he even had his own bar stool at Club Soda where he was also known by everyone, often as Purple Dave. If he wasn’t at Club Soda, Dave could often be found at Bimbo’s Pizza. He did also enjoy shooting pool as well as a good beer. When it came to foods, to say that Dave was a picky eater may be an understatement. While living in his own apartment, he enjoyed the companionship of his cats.
For the past ten years or so Dave lived in group homes. For the past two years he was at Community Living Options. Dave had a good relationship with his caseworker from InterAct of more than 30 years, Claudia, and he also had a good relationship with his most recent house supervisor, Molli.
A kind and gentle soul, David Woods was deeply loved by those around him. He had a rough life and wasn’t always treated the best, but he was genuine in the way he interacted with others. Dave loved his family, and he was passionate about his interests. He will never be forgotten.
David Woods, of Kalamazoo, died December 16, 2017, at his home with family at his side. Dave’s family includes his brother, Rich (Mary) Woods; 3 nephews: Jonathan Woods, and Brodie and Logan Richter; and several cousins. Dave was preceded in death by his parents. Cremation will take place. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and refreshments on Thursday from 5-7 p.m. at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr. Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. Please visit Dave’s personal web page at www.betzlerfuneralhome.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to Community Living Options or InterAct.