Town mourns Woods' death
There’s a popular expression that sums up losses in life. That saying goes like this: “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.”
Cajah’s Mountain Ronnie Setzer feels that way about the recent death of Jerry Woods, a longtime advocate of the town and Caldwell County.
“I don’t think people realize what we’ve lost,” Setzer said. “Jerry was outspoken, but he loved people, and he loved this community. There’s nothing he wouldn’t do for the people of this town. “It’s like that old saying goes: ‘You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.’”
Woods, the mayor pro tem for Cajah’s Mountain, died Nov. 24 at the age of 72 following a six-year battle with cancer. His loss in the town already is being felt by those who knew him best.
“We’re devastated,” Town Manager Connie South said. “I worked with him for more than 20 years, and he was just such a warm, loving person with a good sense of humor. I’m really at a loss for words. He went above and beyond in everything he did. He will be hard to replace.”
Woods was sort of a jack of all trades, working many roles during his lifetime, from furniture upholstery to commercial roof installation. Along the way he even installed billboards, served as a courier, and dealt with advertising and sales for his own company.
A strong advocate for people to exercise their right to vote, Woods actively participated in elections throughout the county. He often was seen at polls and rallies, encouraging citizens to vote. He was a member of the Caldwell County Republican Party, served as a member of the Republican Executive Committee and was a member of the Caldwell County GOP Men’s Club.
A longtime member of the Cajah’s Mountain Lions Club, Woods also served on the Cajah’s Mountain Planning Board/Board of Adjustment from 1991-2003 and had been part of the town council the last nine years. It was in those capacities that many people came in contact with Woods.
“If something needed to be done, you just had to pick up the phone, call Jerry, and he would do it,” South said. “He put up street signs, he painted sculptures, he changed our sign in front of town hall. You knew you could count on Jerry. I think everyone has fond memories of him.”
Setzer said Woods never took his commitment to serving people for granted.
“He relished his role as a public servant,” Setzer said. “He never missed town functions through the years because he was always for the people. He took satisfaction that he was helping others.
“Jerry’s intentions were always true.”
Setzer and South both said the man they knew as a colleague and friend was much more to them. He served as a father figure to both.
“It’s been a personal loss for me,” Setzer said. “We have been close for years, but it’s been a father-son type of relationship. He was a super guy, and I really miss him. I just don’t know how to express how much he meant to me. I’m going to miss him.”
South shared that sentiment.
“I’ve known him for a long time; he’s been like a daddy to me,” South said. “He’d come in the office and say, ‘How’s my girl today?’ I already miss hearing that. We’re all going to miss Jerry.”
The visitation and memorial service for Jerry Woods will be Saturday Dec. 1 at Evans Funeral Service. Visitation will begin at 3 p.m., followed by the memorial service.