In Memoriam: Tony Woods

We lost an amazing man this week in the struggle for education justice for all our children. Kindergarten teacher extraordinaire Tony Woods will be dearly missed by the legions of families whose lives he touched in over 25 years of teaching in the Pittsburgh Public Schools.

Tony Woods at one of the coldest rallies we've held (!), December 2013, outside Governor Corbett's office in downtown Pittsburgh.

Tony Woods at one of the coldest rallies we’ve held (!), December 2013, outside Governor Corbett’s office in downtown Pittsburgh.

As his friend and colleague, Kipp Dawson, reminds us, “Tony will be with us so long as we love, and fight for, all children.” He told her just a few weeks ago, “The love thing goes without saying. Nothing needs to be done to prove that. Just keep advocating for those kids. That has always been my passion and to know it’s going on keeps the love alive.”

A celebration of Tony’s life will be held tomorrow, Saturday, December 7th, at 11AM at First United Methodist Church of Pittsburgh (5401 Centre Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15232). The family requests that donations be made to The Pitt Men’s Study or Shepherd Wellness Community.

Tony’s Pastor, Gail Ransom, shared this about him: “Tony was a spiritual warrior who always led from his heart. And that heart was an expression of divine passion for the young, the disenfranchised, the lost, and the left-behind. He was a protector, a nurturer, a mentor ….”

One of the things I loved about Tony was his ever-present, warm smile. His face would just light up when he saw you. He will help me remember that the path to education justice is a long one and that it helps to keep smiling.

Tony Woods with fellow Colfax teachers on our bus trip to Harrisburg to rally for restored funding for our schools, June 2013.

Tony Woods with fellow Colfax teachers on our bus trip to Harrisburg to rally for restored funding for our schools, June 2013.

Here is Tony’s obituary:

Age 63, of Pittsburgh, passed away Sunday, November 30, 2014, with friends and family by his side. Born November 13, 1951, he is the son of the late Samuel William and Patti Palmer Woods; brother of the late Laurence Woods; he is survived by his loving husband, Ron; he is the esteemed brother of William, David, Richard and Charles; and sisters, Vicki Schroeder of Albuquerque, NM and Penny Elliot of Washington, PA; Tony is also survived by several adoring nieces and nephews. He will be dearly missed by his family and the numerous friends made over the years. Tony was a long time member of the Recovery Community. “He was devotedly involved in the social justice and labor movement.” “He was a bright light in a world of hatred and darkness.” Tony received his undergraduate degree from Carlow College in Early Childhood Education and a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Pittsburgh. Tony spent over 25 years in the Pittsburgh Public Schools, retiring in January 2014. Until his illness, Tony worked with the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers. Tony was a well-loved, respected, and admired Kindergarten teacher at Spring Hill, Morningside, King, and Colfax Schools. Tony was a light for all students, a mentor, friend to fellow teachers, and an active, vocal advocate for children. As one teacher said, “Tony is the Lorax of Education; he speaks for all children. ” These are the truest words, spoken about this loving, warm, dedicated teacher, and friend. A profound thank you to the staff of The Center for Compassionate Care – Canterbury Place, for their care, support, and compassion during his stay. “HE WAS LOVED BY ALL AND PRAISED BY MANY.”

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