YORK TWP. — The co-founder of Medina County Friends and Neighbors has died, but friends and family say the legacy of his work in promoting political conservatism will live on.
Jim Woods, 68, of York Township, died Wednesday following a nine-month battle with lung cancer. Lisa Woods, his wife of 12 years, said he will be missed by family, friends and political allies.
“The most amazing thing about him is his political work, and just how good he was,” his wife said. “He was really so cool-headed and he didn’t let things get to him. Politics is such a dirty place to play, and he just did it so well.”
Nancy L. Abbott, head of the Medina County Republican Party, said Woods was an important voice in Ohio politics.
“I think we’ve lost a true conservative leader in the county and the state,” Abbott said. “It’s going to be really hard to find someone to fill his shoes.”
Woods and his wife founded Friends and Neighbors in 2008 as an independent grassroots conservative organization, affiliated with the tea party movement.
The Woods also have been active in the regular Republican Party. Jim Woods served as the GOP’s Central Committeeman for the 22nd State Senate District since 2012. Lisa Woods is the Central Committee’s vice chairwoman.
The Woods started Friends and Neighbors five years after moving to Medina County in 2003 from Cobb County, Ga., where both were very involved in politics.
Woods worked on political campaigns and held several positions including delegate, party secretary and Georgia state representative.
During the 2008 presidential election, the organization supported Republican candidates John McCain and Sarah Palin.
“When McCain and Palin didn’t win, everyone wanted to keep on going,” Woods’ wife said.
Today, the group’s twice-a-month meetings attract about 50 people.
Aside from politics, Lisa Woods said she would remember her husband as a loving and accepting man.
“Our five children love him so much and they’re going to miss him,” she said. “He was always trying to teach them how to do good.”
Their children range in age from 9 to 22.
She said her husband enjoyed making his own maple syrup, camping, hiking, biking and most outside activities.
“He really loved animals,” she said. “He loved shooting, but he didn’t like to hunt. We’d have to be pretty hungry, I guess, for him to take down a deer.”
Jim Woods served as a Marine from 1964 to 1968.
Lisa Woods said her husband was a devout Christian, reading the Bible every night before bed.
She said she was glad to have had a partner like her husband to help her establish the Friends and Neighbors in Medina County.
“Neither one of us could have done this alone,” she said. “Ohio has taken a great loss. He really helped to get a lot of people involved in politics.”
Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or firstname.lastname@example.org.