Judith Lee Patton Wood passed away Dec. 10 in Las Cruces, N.M., at the age of 97. Judy was born June 6, 1923, in Ashland, Ky. She met her husband, Forrest Wood (Woody), at the high school rifle team dance. It was love at first sight for both of them.
During Woody’s term of service as an Army Air Corps pilot of a B29 bomber during WWII, they married in 1945. Woody received a scholarship to Socorro School of Mines and they made their way to New Mexico. After graduation, they lived in Hobbs and then Farmington. For the next 30-plus years, Woody worked there as a petroleum engineer for El Paso Natural Gas and Northwest Pipeline, and they raised their children, Hank and Ellen. Judy was a wonderful homemaker and also worked as a secretary for a U.S. congressman, a hospital and Red Cross volunteer, a Sunday school teacher and elder at First United Presbyterian Church, and a library assistant at Farmington High School. She and Woody were avid golfers and members of San Juan Country Club. They were involved in many community activities and philanthropies.
After Woody passed away in 1986, Judy lived in Pagosa Springs, Colo. There, she continued to serve others in the community and at church. Judy created a warm, welcoming home wherever she lived. She hosted Bible studies, Bronco football parties, golf gatherings and always left room to take care of her family. At Judy’s home, there was always a cup of coffee ready for those who needed comfort, compassion and someone to listen and care. At age 80, she relocated to Las Cruces and immediately made friends and became involved in many activities, including PEO, bridge club, First United Presbyterian Church, and Memorial Medical Center Auxiliary. Many remember her working at the hospital gift shop. She was known for her kindness, humor and great picks in the family football pool; on one occasion she picked all 13 games correctly — something she was very proud of and a feat never repeated.
Judith was preceded in death by her husband, Forrest H. Wood, of Farmington; parents Alex Logan Patton and Jeanette Bishop Patton; brothers Bishop Patton and John Riley Patton; sisters Madeline (Pat) Patton and Margaret Jo Patton Watts; a niece; and many cousins.
Dubbed “Goggle” by her grandchildren, Judy will be remembered most as a warm, generous, fun and loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She is survived by her son, Hank Wood, and wife Sheryl, of The Woodlands, Texas; daughter Ellen Michnovicz and husband Andy, of Las Cruces; grandchildren Alex Wood and wife Courtney, of Washington, D.C., Stephanie Wood Carroll and husband Devin, of Austin, Texas; Sam Michnovicz, of Las Cruces; Zach Wood, of Washington, D.C.; and Sean Michnovicz, of Las Cruces. She also got to meet and enjoy four beautiful great-granddaughters: Everett Jude Carroll, Forrest Jean Carroll, Owen Devin Carroll and Emma Bell Wood. Also surviving are three nephews and two nieces.
The family would like to thank those who were so devoted and helpful during her last months: friend and neighbor Tony Marsh, caregivers from Home Instead and Mesilla Valley Hospice, and all dear friends who inquired, visited and helped to care for her.
A memorial service will be held Friday, Dec. 18, at 3 p.m. at First United Presbyterian Church, 200 E. Boutz Rd., Las Cruces, NM 88005.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to First Presbyterian Church of Las Cruces or St. Jude Children’s Hospital.