August 20, 2014 - Scott Woody never achieved his dream of becoming a teacher, officially, but he was one in every sense of the word.
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From February 2003 to November 2012, he played a pivotal role educating students as a tutorial assistant with Oxford High School's successful automotive program.
"He made it almost a personal mission to see (to it) they were successful and headed in the right direction," said Auto Instructor Dan Balsley.
Sadly, Woody, of Oxford, passed away on Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014 following a courageous battle with cancer. He was 50.
"It's such a huge loss," Balsley said. "He was taken too young. We'll miss him."
Woody's job was to assist Balsley in the shop and help those students who needed extra attention.
"I've never had an assistant that's made such a strong, positive impact on the program," said Balsley, who's been teaching at OHS since 1986. "He added so much to the program."
Woody and Balsley worked well together and complemented each other.
Computers, technology and foreign vehicles were Woody's strengths, while Balsley brought the practical skills and years of experience.
"We made such a good team," Balsley said. "The combination was the best I've ever had. His impact, his help (with) the program is something I don't think I could ever repeat."
When Woody first started as a tutorial assistant, he "had some automotive background," according to Balsley, but he didn't possess any certifications.
Woody soon corrected that by earning an associate's degree from Macomb Community College and receiving certifications from both the state and the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.
"He put himself through school," Balsley said. "He really grew a lot in the time he was with me in the program."
There's no doubt Woody was good under the hood, but he really excelled when it came to working with the students.
"He had an excellent rapport with the kids," Balsley said. "He could relate to them. He took a personal interest in their lives and their success."
Woody made it a point to learn about students' families and visit with them in the halls outside of class.
"He was an instant hit with the kids," Balsley said. "He had a good sense of humor and was pretty easygoing."
"Compassionate" was a word that Balsley used over and over again when talking about Woody. "He would go out of his way to help people that needed it," he said.
Woody dreamed of becoming a teacher and someday, having his own auto program.
"That's what he really wanted to do," Balsley said. "And he could do it. He had the skills and the ability. He was ready to have his own shop. The only problem was he didn't have his (bachelor's) degree."
That dream didn't become a reality, which made Woody appreciate his days at OHS all the more. He remembered them fondly and missed them dearly.
"He always said if he hit the lottery and didn't have to work anymore, he would come back and donate his time at the high school," Balsley said. "He said it was the best job he ever had. He wanted to be back there working with the kids."
Woody is survived by Ruth, his loving wife of 26 years; daughter Andrea Woody; son Zachary Woody; mother Diane Woody; sister Dawn (Dennis) Edmunds; brother Jay (Rhonda) Woody; sister Judy Dixie; brothers Bill Dixie, Doug Dixie; mother-in-law Mary Dixie; also many aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.
According to his obituary, "Scott was an awesome husband and an amazing father that took great pride in his kids and their achievements. He was a man that could fix anything and was a role model to many."
When he wasn't working on cars, Woody enjoyed mountain biking, baseball, softball and bowling.
A celebration of Woody's life will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 22 at Lynch & Sons Funeral Directors (39 West Burdick St.) in Oxford. Visitation will be held on Thursday, Aug. 21 from 2-8 p.m.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.