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Captain Jimmie Dale Woods, U.S. Coast Guard, (Ret.)

La Quinta, Ca- Jimmie Dale Woods, 85, passed away peacefully on July 22, 2020. He was in the company of his wife Jane.

gray sealJim was born October 8, 1933 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was very proud of the fact that he was named after a Detective Series by the name Jimmie Dale/The Grey Seal, which is a fictional character who had a costume and mask for his secret identity, serving as a possible influence for characters later such as Zorro and The Shadow. The series was created by Frank L. Packard in 1914. His Mother was an avid reader. She chose his name right since he loved to read books, especially his comic books. He would often read the adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Tarzan. You name it. He read it. Even his Math books would be read like novels.

At the age of 9 he had traveled all over the West with his parents as they would try to find work after The Depression. He had attended 14 different schools before the 4th grade. When they moved to Indio, California that is where his Father bought the first bakery to the Valley at that time. Something that he was so proud of. They stayed there until he graduated from High School.

In 1951 he graduated from Coachella Valley High School. He was accepted at both the Naval Academy and the USCG Academy. It is amazing that he had never been on a boat before he chose the career he did. But he never complained of seasickness, even though he would get it. He was Captain of the wrestling team, and the undefeated football team. Upon graduation at the USCG Class of 1955, he was recipient of the Math Award Regular Vets Association.

While stationed in Boston, in 1955 he met Jane Ruth Lewis of Uxbridge, Ma. On November 10, 1956, they were married in her hometown with a military wedding, complete with his military sword that his Grandmother had bought for him while at the Academy. His children followed after. Cindy was born in Everett, Ma, Jimmie Jr. born in Wilmington, NC and Timmie born in New London, CT. His greatest joys in life was his family. In his spare time he was also a Scout Master in San Juan PR for his sons. He was also involved in the Wrestling Federation of America, since his sons were also wrestlers. I swear He never slept to get all these achievements done. The only achievement that wasn’t obtainable was that he couldn’t teach his own daughter Math. Just wasn’t in the cards.

He got his third chance in life at maintaining his youth and that was though his grandchildren. He had a beautiful smile and laugh- but you knew he was truly happy by the twinkle in his eyes. He served on the USCG Duane, USCG Mendoza, and Search and Rescue in San Juan, PR. Then to the USCG Academy for 19 years. A total of 35 years in the USCG. Many summers were spent sailing on the USCG Eagle. Other times he was invited to spend as visiting professor or attending seminars at College and Universities around the country.

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At the Academy, Jim served on the permanent commissioned teaching staff, he was the Head of the Mathematics Department until retiring on December 31, 1980 and earned his Masters from Trinity College in Hartford, then his PHD from the University of Connecticut. He would say the degrees he worked the hardest on were the smallest, and those he was most proud of. While stationed at the Academy he was project manager to bring back the remains of the 1st USCG Officer, Hopley Yeaton, to be  permanently buried in the chapel yard. He also was behind getting the first computer programmed at the USCG in between getting his Masters.

He was always delighted to be involved with the Coast Guard, accepting a position of permanent professor. His comment was: “ My job is important, I am going to teach the Coast Guard Math” He was proud of that. He taught many, handing out awards at special ceremonies and especially keeping in touch with his many students that had gone on to become Admirals and even a Commandant of the USCG.

Along with reading and seeing on TV about all the rescue work that they still do. He was proud of the decision he had made to go into the USCG in 1951.Upon retiring he taught at the Hartford Graduate Center as a full professor until 1989, then 1990 he became Dean, School of Management of the Hartford Graduate Center. During his teaching career he wrote many Math Books that were used for many years at both schools he taught at. In 1999 he was voted to become Professor Emeritus at the Coast Guard Academy.

His wish when he decided to retire was to go home to the Valley where he grew up. He had vacationed there part time and then built his retirement home in 1985.

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He was active in The Military Officers Association, Member of the La Quinta Golf Estates homeowners Association board for over 20 years, Masonic Lodge 476, Royal Arch and Order of the Eastern Star 360. Jimmie was also priest of York in 29 Palms, Past Patron of OES #360 in 1996 & 2006; and OES Grand Representative to Colorado in 2006.

He loved working/ judging Artwork, selling tickets and meeting a lot of his old High School friends at The Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival in Indio, California. This was his home.

His awards were many in his lifetime, but these are the ones that he was most proud of: National Science Faculty fellow 1964-1965, member American Statistical Association, American Mathematics Association, Operations Research Society Quality Control, Phi Kappa Phi. Listed in Who’s Who in America in the East.

remembering jimmie woods

He is survived by the love of his life, his wife of 63 years, 8 months, 12 days, (23265 days), Jane. His favorite quote to her was : “Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be...” A man of his words he always was, and he always kept his promise to her with their time together. His children: Cindy Bonneau of Savannah, Ga. Jimmie Woods Jr. (Anne) of Avon, Ct. Grandchildren: Tiffany, Philip and Christopher Bonneau (Stephanie); Molly and Erica Woods. Great Granddaughters: Alanna and Bailey Bonneau, and a sister Agatha Shryack (Carl) from Colorado Springs, CO. Jimmie is predeceased by his parents, Robert Henry and Edith (Boyle) Woods; younger brother Robert Henry Woods, Jr. and his son Timmie Alan Woods. Interment of ashes will be at Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside, Ca. with full military honors on September 8th, 2020.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you reach out to someone who is also experiencing the long road of Alzheimer's to show them comfort and support. And remind them how much they are loved and how important they are and were.

Open a book of adventures to the young- help them with their studies if they aren’t doing well in school-turn on a old time movie- or just play Hansel and Gretel. But remember to love, laugh and just enjoy your life! For we are all the teachers of the future. A forever we don’t have but a piece of us we will always leave with whoever we may teach along the way.

“You should be something you are proud of, and you know is worth living for. Find a goal in life and spend your time fighting for it, but also know that goals can change at any moment, so be ready to work at it for a lifetime.” -Jimmie Woods
(Told to the Students of Coachella Valley High School for their newspaper.)


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Remembering Jimmie Woods 1933 - 2020
A post from Jimmie's daughter, Cindy. 


My Dad, he was a baker’s son, he got accepted both at the Naval Academy and the USCG Academy. The funny thing about it they both dealt with boats and my Dad had never been on a boat. He went by Greyhound from out west to his new destination New London, Ct. Class of 1955 he was. Upon graduation he bought a new Chevy- there is a rule there because of him that no upper-class men will profit by underclassmen. Seems my Dad would do grinder/ pizza runs for them. Reason for his new car.

remembering jimmie woodsWe lived in Boston, NC, San Juan PR, and then lived in Mystic/Stonington the rest of his career. Of course in the end he went back home to California. He ended up Head of the Math Department at the USCG Academy until he retired.

He loved to teach Math - since accepting his role, he would never be a Admiral. Which leads to me- he couldn’t fully understand why he could teach so many and not his own daughter. Yes, I barely past Math. I remember one summer when I was little - my Dad went away for most of the summer- he went to Europe to be on the Eagle with the cadets. To this day when a sailboat is out to sea I can smell the ropes and reminds me of that feeling Dad is finally home.

Many a summer was going out west to visit his parents - even his grandparents. I hated the long trips and I should have appreciated it far more than I did. You name it I saw it - even the Kellogg plant-riots in Chicago in the 60’s we had to avoid just to get back home.

My Dad loved his math books and would read them like novels-but then again he loved Tarzan- Sherlock Holmes, etc But it was funny, come pay day we would always stop at the drug store in Groton- he was buying comic books for us, but the deal was he had to read them first. I always chose Archie. He loved his movies, could do one hand pushups, wrestling, football player he was, loved Boy Scouts even was a leader in San Juan and later in Connecticut. You name it, he did it.

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Last year I flew out to spend some time with my parents. My Dad had been in a nursing home since February.

The minute I walked in the Director said to me he will probably not recognize you, he never talks about his family. I was prepared. I saw him watching old time movies, and I whispered in his ear “Hello, Handsome..” and stepped in front of him. He looked at me and said “ And who are you?” With a smile on his face. Saying to myself, Please God don’t do this to me, I have come so far. I stood as straight as I could, shoulders back and said “ I am your daughter.”( sounding like Darth Vader) He looked at me, and said “Cindy, I thought I would never see you again.” “I’m here.” I said, “I wanted to spend my birthday with you.” He goes August 18th. I cried and so did he. My Mom goes to my Dad I told you I had a surprise for you.

sunsetWhat I take away from my Dad is that he loved my Mom with all his heart for 63 1/2 years. But he also loved his children/grandchildren just as much. Including numerous Cats and Westies my Mom and Dad had. As well as his extended family, his Mom and Dad, his brother Bobby and his sister, Agatha. The only time my Mom saw my Dad cry is when he lost both his parents. So I too can cry a little.

I had an amazing Dad, with a twinkle in his eyes when he smiled and his laugh was always music to my ears.

I could go on and on the wonder stories I have of him. For some reason I keep referring to him as my real life Peter Pan. With a voice as Sean Connery when he would give speeches. To this day, I remember asking Timmie when did Dad start sounding like Sean Connery, did I miss something? Maybe it was the kilt he was wearing. All I remember from that day was laughing so much with my brother because he too would then start sounding like Sean. Laughter, it what will get me by. That he taught me well.

My last words to my Dad, July 20, 2020 was: “I love you. You are the Best Dad.” He mumbled something back, he had had a stroke but I know in my heart he said I love you too, because he always did, that I could always count on. 

When I was in the nursing home with my Dad this guy was playing this song. I lost it. See I grew up with movies. “Wizard of Oz” it was always watched! I never have a tissue when I needed it. I flew into Savannah, and some guy was playing the same song on a grand piano they have in the airport. I go “You have to be kidding!”

So it seems perfect that I too end with this: “Somewhere over the Rainbow.....”


over the rainbow