Mary Elizabeth Woods, 95, formerly of Lutesville, Portageville, and Marquand, died July 24, 2018, at The Baptist Home in Ironton. Beth was born September 12, 1922, in Mississippi County, Arkansas, the daughter of Oscar and Octa Rhodes Upchurch.
She was raised on the family farm in Bollinger County, with her two sisters (Jo, who preceded her in death, and Jackie, who survives) and two brothers (Junior and Winferd, who both preceded Mrs. Woods in death). Beth was valedictorian at Lutesville High School and studied for a year at Southeast Missouri University before marrying Hugh Lambert Woods, also of Bollinger County, in 1942.
During WW II they lived in Texas, Arizona, and California while Hugh served as a pilot instructor. Daughter, Judy, was born in 1944 in Cape Girardeau, and they returned to Missouri after the war and settled in Portageville. Son, Richard, was born in 1947. Beth and Hugh were devout members of the Portageville First Baptist Church and worked hard to make Woods Lumber Company a success. Beth was initially a full-time mother and homemaker, but kept the company's books after the kids left for college.
In retirement in 1980, Beth and Hugh moved from Portageville to a cabin in the forests near Marquand, where they tended garden, hosted many family reunions and enjoyed the Missouri hills and wildlife. After Hugh died in 2005, Beth continued to live there through some difficult winters until moving in 2010 to The Baptist Home in Ironton, at first in an independent apartment, then into the Home proper for greater care as her health deteriorated.
Beth Woods loved sewing and will be remembered for her beautiful hand-stitched patchwork quilts continuing an Upchurch family tradition. She will also be remembered for her good cooking (especially chocolate chip cookies, which she shared with all), her generosity, her Christian faith and active membership in the Baptist church, and her devotion to her kids, granddaughter, Keri, and great-granddaughters: Morgan and Jessica. Beth also was well-travelled in her trips around the USA, as well as to Peru, Pakistan, New Zealand, and other countries, often to visit son, Richard, in his work abroad. She always remained faithful, though, to her roots in Missouri, and to the family and many friends there.
Funeral services were Aug. 6, 2018, at Hutchings Funeral Chapel in Marble Hill. Burial was in Bollinger County Memorial Park Cemetery near Marble Hill. In lieu of flowers please consider donations to The Baptist Home in Ironton, or Habitat for Humanity.