PHOENIX — Hundreds of people filed into the Orpheum Theater in Phoenix Friday to remember former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods. Woods died of a heart attack three weeks ago at the age of 67.
Politician, Renaissance man, father, husband, Grant Woods lived a wondrous life. And it was all on display during his memorial service.
Woods was remembered as a serious man. Dr. Warren H. Stewart, Sr., of the First Institutional Baptist Church called him the white man’s version of Civil Rights Icon John Lewis, “If you see something that is not right, that’s not fair, not just say something do something get in trouble, good trouble, necessary trouble, and Grant Woods was getting into good trouble until the day he died.”
He was also remembered for his silliness, which his wife Marlene Galan Woods said could happen at any time and any place. Like an encounter with a waiter in a Florence, Italy restaurant. “They just went on and on talking about each other’s shirt,” Galan Woods said, “and before I knew it they were undressing in a restaurant swapping shirts.”
Those were the stories Woods’ family, friends, and colleagues came to hear one more time. NBA Hall of Famer and Phoenix Suns star, Charles Barkley told of the first time he was going to meet Woods for a pickup game of basketball as it turned out. “I remember Cotton Fitzsimmons said to me the Attorney General wants to meet you. And I said, Cotton, I haven’t even gotten arrested in Arizona yet.” The audience loved it.
Grant Woods remained in the public eye long after he left public office. He was never afraid to take on a political fight, much like the late Senator John McCain, his close friend, and confidant.
“Grant was authentic, there was nothing John more appreciated in a political figure or anyone for that matter, than authenticity,” said Ambassador Cindy McCain, who like her husband is a close friend of the Woods family.
Woods was truly a man of the arts. After leaving office, he learned to play guitar, wrote songs and became a playwright.
“After my dad’s first play, produced out here, ‘The Things We Do’,” son Cole Woods recounted, “my grandpa came up to me and he goes, ‘I’m really worried for you grandkids.’ I said, ‘why grandpa?’ ‘Cuz your dad is good at everything he does.’”
In lieu of gifts and flowers, the family says donations can be made to the Boys & Girls Clubs here.