Reba Mae Woods
Reba Mae Woods, 93, left our lives Wednesday, August 29th, following a short illness. Reba was Orville Lee Woods' loving wife of more than 65 years, a mother of one, a grandmother of seven, a great grandmother and, great, great grandmother of too many kids to count. She - they - were loved.
Born in Picher, Okla. on June 24, 1925 to Roxy Mable and Peter Windsor Payton, Reba was raised in Miami where she attended school, danced on the stage of the Coleman Theater as a kid, became a licensed beautician, bore a son, our father, Dewayne Eugene Woods, and lived a full life.
Reba, and Orville, who preceded her in death, raised generations of grandchildren, often sacrificing much to make sure we were well fed, well dressed, well schooled, well mannered, and were well prepared to become the best men and women we could.
If you were a friend of one of us Woods kids, you probably called her Mama (Maw-Maw). Kids around the neighborhood did, and now, even as adults remembering her, they still will. She was, and is, loved. Even when serving up a little tough love - often with a short switch cut from a yellow forsythia bush - she was loved by her grandsons. It was, after all, always deserved.
Sometimes when chasing a couple of us misbehaving grandkids around the house with that forsythia switch, she would simply stop, sit down on the hardwood floors of the modest Northeast Miami home in which we were raised, and start laughing. She didn't give in, she just couldn't stay mad at her boys.
Mama is remembered for vocally supporting us on the sidelines at football games and baseball games, court side at basketball games, mat side at wrestling matches, and in the audience at community, high school and university theater productions. She was proud of her grandkids and wanted everyone to know it.
Not content to only cheer from the sidelines, Mama took an active role in training her young athletes. She could often be found playing catch, conducting batting practice in the back yard, or working on wrestling holds and escapes on the living room floor.
Aside from her grandkids and beloved Orville Lee, there were other things she loved. She loved black licorice, a cold red beer, traveling anywhere with her family and fishing... even when they weren't biting. She loved cooking for her clan. She loved oil painting with her neighbor, Shirley; scavenging for bobbers and lures along the shore of Grand Lake, and raiding flea markets with SWAT team like precision.
When it came to being a grandma - our Mama, Reba Mae Woods - was the real deal. She was to her last breath, kind to a fault, forgiving of our missteps and unconditionally loved us all. I know Orville Lee, our Pop, was there on Wednesday waiting to welcome her back into his arms, to hold her tight, and again dance in three-quarter time to The Tennessee Waltz.
With never ending love,
the grand kids of Reba Mae Woods