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August 11, 2004
A Fitting And Moving Eulogy

A short while ago, my friend Haddayr Copley-Woods lost her beloved father Joe Woods at the far-too-young age of 59 to a sudden heart attack. Haddayr writes a regular column for the Minnesota Women's Press, and I knew eventually her grief would find its way into her writing. Today she writes an exceptional and moving tribute to her father:

When I was a little girl, I sometimes stood next to my father at the basement sink, imitating the movement of his strong, calloused hands as he dipped them in Goop cleaner, carefully scrubbing to the elbows. He would rinse blackened oil and axle grease from his enormous forearms in precise movements and lather again with soap. Like him, I would carefully dry each finger, and we would head to dinner.

I worshipped him then. Later, I merely loved and respected him. ...

Although he was a hard worker (over his short lifetime: a college instructor, a master mechanic, a trade writer and columnist, a truck driver), fatherhood was his most defining characteristic. He raised us on socialist, Taoist and humanist philosophy, with sprinkles of sturdy skepticism and Irish humor. He told us terrible, wonderful things like: Defy authority. Do not defy it because it is wrong. Defy it because it is there. When we did, he stood by us. Years later, he built a secret door behind a bookcasehe believed every grandparent should have one. My son Arie was delighted.

He told a great story, teaching me that it was timing, character and exaggerationnot slavish attention to correct detailthat mattered. He was fiercely loyal. He taught us to love classical and traditional folk music. He was a proud Midwesterner.

Obvoiusly, Haddayr and I have differing political philosophies, but we remain friends, which speaks to the maturity that some lack in today's highly partisan environment. I suspect that had I ever met Joe Woods, we would possibly have had some engaging, interesting, and possibly loud debates on politics -- but that we would have both enjoyed our time together. I'm sorry that I never got the chance to find out. All I know is that he raised an exceptional person in Haddayr, and my sympathies are with her and her entire family.

Put the partisanship away for a moment and read Haddayr's column. The comments will remain open for anyone who wants to extend their sympathy to the Woods family.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 11, 2004 10:53 AM

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