Grady Graper Woody, 97, passed away on July13, 2020 at Baptist Hospital in Memphis after a short illness. Born September 10, 1922 in Scotts Hill, Tennessee, Grady was the first of three brothers born to E.G. and Estelle Woody.
After graduating from Scotts Hill High School––where he was an outstanding point guard on the basketball team––World War II intervened. Grady enlisted in the U.S. Army November 24,1942. He deployed to Germany and was seriously wounded in the Battle of Heilbronn, Germany on April 11, 1945. He received two Bronze Star medals for bravery and was awarded the Purple Heart. During his time in the Army and before being wounded, he got to take leave and go home for a week. He wasted no time marrying his childhood sweetheart and the love of his life, Lillian Taylor. In April of this year Grady and Lillian celebrated their anniversary of 77 years.
After leaving the Army he enrolled in and graduated from Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. He then received his Masters Degree from Memphis State University. In 1953 Grady (or Graper as his family called him) and Lillian moved to Memphis. There, Grady began a distinguished career in education. In 1958 he became principal of the Memphis State University Training School and began teaching in the College of Education at the university. During his tenure there, The Training School became the Campus School. When a new home for the Campus School was planned, he incorporated innovative design elements that were widely copied in other new schools. He loved children and any decision he made was always guided by the question of what would be best for the students. Under his leadership the Campus School developed a reputation for excellence in education and was the recipient of many awards acknowledging that status. During his time in education he always remained active in Phi Delta Kappa, a professional education association and served as the regional director. In 1980, after 22 years at the Campus School, Grady retired from what is now the University of Memphis.
After retiring Grady and Lillian bought a small farm back in Henderson County near their birthplace of Scotts Hill. There he took on the role of gentleman farmer: raising cattle, pigs, horses, dogs and cats. He always tended a huge garden and planted an orchard. In the summer the back porch was always crowded with vegetables and fruit to be canned or frozen by Lillian. Occasionally he would get caught up enough with the farm work to go fishing with his sons, which he loved doing. This period was probably the most enjoyable of his life and the farm was the place he always identified as being “home.”
Grady is survived by his wife Lillian; his son, Charles; his son, Danny and Danny’s wife Christine; and step-grandson, Michael Masterson; his brother, Charles (Dock) Woody and his wife Mary Ann; his sister-in-law, Kathleen Robins; and sister-in-law, Sharon Woody; and numerous nephews and nieces.
Grady always made you feel better when you were around him. He had a wicked sense of humor and a great laugh. His work ethic was amazing, even as he got up in years. He had a quiet, strong religious faith and believed in taking care of what he felt God had entrusted to him. He was a good man and will be missed so much.
Private services will be held at a later time. Reed’s Chapel – Scotts Hill is in charge of arrangements.