Donald Severin Woods passed away on Nov. 16, 2022. The last two years of his life were very challenging medically; but as per his way, he accepted the hand he was dealt with and continued as best he could without complaint. He is now at rest, thankfully, with all his cherished family and friends in God's promised, designated place for us. He is terribly missed by his wife, Jacquie, of 58 years and his daughter, Jennifer.
Born May 23, 1937 to Severin John and Helen Wojciechowski in Detroit, Michigan into a large Polish family of grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles. He was to become the oldest child with two sisters and two brothers who later followed. When Don was 9, the family moved to Orange County, California, specifically to Santa Ana, to join his father's brothers who had moved there earlier. He had very fond memories of traveling across the country with his Dad with the family possessions while his Mother traveled by train with his sister, Carol and brother John. Brother Gerry and sister Mary would later be born at the house on Sycamore St. to complete the family. He attended ST. Anne's Catholic school, Lathrop Jr. High School, and graduated from Santa Ana High School. He also took classes at Santa Ana College. At that time after he finished school, businesses were not hiring young men of draft age and so he enlisted in the United States Air Force. and served for 4 years. He much enjoyed his years in the Air Force. After discharge, he started working for L.D. Coffing Co. in Santa Ana. It was a very well-established business, a Chrysler, DeSoto, Dodge, Plymouth dealership. This is where he met his wife, Jacquie, who was doing filing for her father who was the Service Manager during her school's summer break. He would often walk by the office and wink at her. Finally, he got the courage to ask her to coffee and the rest is history. They were married in August of 1964.
Don and Jacquie made a wonderful life together in Santa Ana and eventually moved to North Tustin where they have lived for 47 years.
Don continued his career as a master mechanic working for various Chrysler dealerships in the area and finally transferring to the County of Orange Transportation division servicing and repairing the County's vehicles, especially the Sheriff's cars. Jacquie continued with her schooling and became a registered nurse and was employed by St. Joseph Hospital for over 40 years. They had one son, Greg, who was born with multiple medical and developmental challenges and cared for him until just before his 5th birthday when he passed away. Then about a year and a half after that they were blessed with the adoption of their newborn baby, Jennifer.
The family of 3 did many things together. Don loved to fish and they loved to travel. They frequently went to the family cabin in Big Bear Lake. They began to travel with RVs as it was an easy way to travel with Greg and continued after his passing with trailers, 5th wheels, and a motorhome. Don joined the Santa Ana Elks Club and the family joined their RV group and went almost monthly with their outings. Travel also included many trips abroad on cruises, river and land trips mostly with the many wonderful friends met at the Elks club. Trips included the Bristish Isles, most of Europe, the Mediterranean countries, Mexico, South America, Egypt, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand, Alaska, Hawaii, and every state in the United States.
Don thoroughly enjoyed the Santa Ana Elks. He became more and more involved, loved the many members and friends he met there. He got involved in the officer core and eventually became the Exalted Ruler in1995. Afterwards, he continued being active and became more involved in the Past Exalted Rulers group.
Most of Don's adult life, starting at age 35 became impacted by a disease attacking his vision. No direct cause was ever found but he was treated for the symptoms that caused gradual loss of his vision until he could no longer work or drive. Luckily, he was able to work and drive until age 61 before he had to quit. For most of the rest of his life, he filled in his time at the Braille institute of Anaheim where he was helped immensely to function with his low vision by being taught to use computers and learning to use the talking books machine they provided him with so he could continue his love of reading. He was also helped tremendously by the VA. He attended their Blind Rehab Center in Palo Alto for 3 months in 2006 and at the newer Long Beach facility in 2017 where he was provided with computers and low vision equipment and training. He was always very grateful to the VA for the many wonderful programs, equipment, and medical treatments they continued to provide him with for the remainder of his life to make his life more meaningful.
Don was a wonderful, thoughtful, kind, and generous husband, father and friend. Never did he complain or ask "why me" about his eyesight. He strongly embraced what life gave him and did his ultimate best to live his life to the fullest.