W.G. “Bill” Coody, 78, died Sunday, March 24, 2013, in Weatherford.
Memorial service is 1 p.m. Thursday, March 28, in White’s Chapel of Memories, 130 Houston Ave., Weatherford. Private burial will be in Memory Gardens of the Valley Memorial Park. Visitation is 5-7 p.m. Wednesday at the funeral home.
Born May 8, 1934, in Wallis, to Amelia (Millie) and James Coody, Bill spent his childhood and high school years attending school with classmates who would be lifelong friends. He graduated from Wallis High School as a member of a graduating class of 1951 and began his college education at Wharton County Junior College in 1952. Bill married Sue, his high school sweetheart and lifetime love, in August 1954. He enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1955 and was stationed at England Air Force Base in Louisiana until his honorable discharge from service in 1958. Bill was a 32nd Degree Mason, a Shriner and a member of the Masonic Lodge of Pollock, La. After his service in the Air Force, he attended Sam Houston State Teachers College in Huntsville, from which he graduated with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Political Science.
His professional life took many fascinating turns – from his first teaching position in 1958 in the public schools in Iago, full circle to retirement from professorship at Weatherford College in 2010. He began his higher education teaching career in 1963 at Weatherford College “Old Main” on South Main Street. In 1965, he left teaching briefly to serve as coordinator of education for a large insurance company in Dallas, but by 1968, he was back to the Weatherford College Social Science Department at the new Weatherford College campus “on the hill.”
He continued teaching there through the Fall of 1972, when he was elected state representative for District 63, which then encompassed Parker County and part of Tarrant County. His election began a long and distinguished six-term career of public service in the Texas Legislature. Bill was always the first to quip that, “No man’s life, liberty or property were safe when the Texas Legislature was in session,” but he had a true heart for people and he fulfilled his duties to his constituents with commitment and integrity throughout his tenure in Austin. Bill was selected a Texas Monthly “Ten Best” in the Texas Legislature for his service. As with every other place and time in his life, Bill made deep and long standing friendships with his colleagues in the Legislature.
In 1984, Bill chose not to seek re-election and moved his career in a different direction. In 1995, though, Weatherford College beckoned once again and Bill returned to the campus where he continued to teach until his retirement at the conclusion of the spring semester in 2010 when he was granted Faculty Emeritus status. Bill’s classes were always the first to fill and close and his students attest to his unerring ability to make what might have been an otherwise dull litany of historical events come vividly alive for them. He was, in his professional life and his personal life, a master teacher and, while he will be deeply missed, his life lessons are indelibly printed on his students to be shared with future generations.
Survivors include his wife, Sue Coody; his daughter, Cathy Zellers and husband, Ed, of Weatherford; his son, Sam Coody and wife, Lisa, of Weatherford; and his beloved grandchildren, Claire Varnon and husband, Richard, of Weatherford, Jacob Coody, of Fort Worth, Ethan Lucas Coody, of Weatherford, and Caitlin Zellers and fiancé, Matthew Cobb.
Bill was preceded in death by a son, Jim Coody; and his sisters, Mamie Day, Ruby Watson, Elizabeth Wleczyk and Jimmie Bradley.
Contributions in Bill’s honor may be made to the Weatherford College Coody Family Scholarship Fund.
White’s Funeral Home