Harry Arthur Woods, Jr.

1941-2021

Harry A. Woods, Jr. came into the world on February 15th, 1941, born to Harry and Viada (Young) Woods in his grandmother’s kitchen in Hartford, Arkansas. He spent his childhood on the family farm in Monroe, Oklahoma, helping to raise cattle and small crops, surrounded by his five younger siblings.

Harry’s life-long curiosity, intelligence, and boundless energy took him to Oklahoma State University, where he was named “Outstanding Graduating Senior” and to New York University School of Law on a Root-Tilden scholarship. He worked for White & Case Law Firm, NYC, after graduating from NYU. He then served 4 years in the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps at Ft. McClellan, Alabama. His heart always belonged to Oklahoma, so he was thrilled to join Crowe & Dunlevy law firm in Oklahoma City in 1971. He enjoyed an immensely satisfying career and was proud to serve as president of the Oklahoma Bar Association in 2004.

Harry’s greatest joy was his family. He and his wife, Carol (Meschter), were married for nearly 54 years, and had two children, Arthur and Beth Ann (Graham). He also had six grandchildren – Lauren Lee and Eliot and Nicholas Woods, joined by Robert (Laura), Rosemary (Miguel), and Andrew Lee; and two great-grandchildren – Calvin and Max Lee. He also loved seeing his extended family, especially at big Fourth of July and Thanksgiving events at the farm.

Harry developed many important friendships during his law practice and through his wide range of hobbies and interests, which included windsurfing, jogging, rock-climbing, biking, hiking, photography, travel, eating with The Good Times Gang dinner group, and flying his beloved Bonanza. For the past few years, his book club was especially important to him. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Edmond, where he participated in the Faith Experience Sunday school class and held various positions.

After a two-year struggle with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, Harry died at home on Monday, January 11th, surrounded by his wife and children. He was preceded in death by his parents; a nephew; a great-niece and her child; his parents-in-law; a sister-in-law; and a brother-in-law. He is survived by his wife, children, grandchildren, and siblings John (Paulette) Woods, Barbara (Glendon) Chester, George (Kathy) Woods, Robert (Paula) Woods, and Mary (Tom) Ulrich, and many beloved in-laws, nieces, nephews, and their kids.

The family would like to thank Companion Healthcare, especially Kristin, Natalie, and Kerri. Arrangements are under the direction of Matthews Funeral Home in Edmond. A private, family-only service will be held on Saturday, January 16th, at 2 pm, and will be live-streamed. Please  CLICK HERE to view live stream. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to First United Methodist Church in Edmond; Oklahoma Indian Legal Services Inc.; or a charity of your choice.

Comments

  1. Harry was one of my first mentors at Crowe & Dunlevy and was a perfect one. He always gave needed advice to the very naive associate lawyer that I was when I started at the Firm, and did so kindly.

    We tried several cases together and it was clear to me that the judges had great respect for Harry. He was always straightforward and honest in every matter, and was totally unflappable.

    Harry was a great attorney, a great partner at Crowe & Dunlevy, and a great friend. We who had the privilege of knowing him are better for his example, and will miss him very much.

    Brooke Murphy

  2. Carol, I am so sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine the empty space in your heart, my friend. Please know you and your family are in my prayers. Kristi Strubhart

  3. I am so sorry for your loss.
    May God bless and comfort you and your family.
    Miss you.

  4. My friendship with Harry for 20 years, was one of the greatest blessings I have ever had.

    Our weekly Saturday morning bike rides were not only rituals in physical exercise but my updates from him about domestic and global bulletins from around the world. They were his pundit’s analyses of social and political events. They were my weekly dose of enlightenment. They were lessons in wisdom. They were redolent with wit and humor. They were my weekly psychotherapy that alleviated my stress from the previous days of work.

    Periodic climbing excursions with Harry at the climbing gym were my lessons from Harry about endurance and perseverance. During these sessions he showed me the best hand holds and foot holds that helped me goal setting and for reaching the top.

    Harry’s authoritative and objective critiques of books in our book club reflected his keen perspicacity and deep intellect. I learned from him understanding the profound meaning behind the words and moderation in judging the books we read and generosity in rating them.

    Harry ‘s company during our dinner and movie outings, made these events most entertaining, gratifying and satisfying to the belly and the brain. Those were gateways to excitement, tranquility and freedom from life’s vicissitudes.

    Harry biked farther, climbed higher, read wider and comprehended deeper than I ever did. Every time I will bike, climb or read I will remember my good friend and reminisce the good times.

    Besides being an accomplished and revered attorney, Harry was a man of courage and sense of humor. He exemplified decorum, honesty, integrity and morality. There are 206 bones in the human skeleton, Harry did not have single bad bone in his body. He was always at peace with himself. He always had a positive outlook on life and wore a smile on his face even during the last days of his sickness. He is now smiling at us from heaven.

    Harry was one of the best friends any one can have. He touched my soul and bettered my life. I will never forget Harry and will miss him dearly.
    RIP my friend.

    Ghazi Rayan

  5. Carol & family: Please accept my sincere condolences on Harry’s passing. I had the pleasure to enjoy his presence but a few years. However, during that time, I came to understand what a perfect gentle giant he was to all who knew him. His passing will be truly missed by the legal profession, Oklahoma Bar Association and
    us all. William R. Grimm

  6. I was fortunate enough to have the honor of working extensively with Harry when I joined the Crowe Dunlevy firm as a first-year lawyer in 1976. He was a wonderful mentor and I learned how to be a lawyer in large part by having the privilege of working with him. He was always kind and treated everyone with respect, whether they were other attorneys, clients or opposing parties. He was a great attorney, and an even better person.

  7. Dear Harry was as good a friend as anyone could wish for. He was an inspiration to the young folk at the climbing gym who would watch him in amazement. He was a legal resource to anyone who had a problem and he always took a kind interest in the people around him. He was extremely open minded and I could talk with him about anything. We also shared many years of culinary adventures and I feel truly blessed to be his friend. Harry and Carol feel just like family and I know that his spirit is soaring like he loved to do while flying his plane. Thank you Harry, I know your light still shines bright here for us.

  8. I, too, was lucky enough to work with Harry as a young attorney at Crowe & Dunlevy, and also consider him one of my mentors. Harry was the archetype gentleman attorney — a la Atticus Finch — and had the perfect demeanor for a trial lawyer. He was whip-smart with such a genteel exterior. He was a true Renaissance man. As valuable as his lessons about how to practice law were — his example of how to live a life was even better. Respect, honor, integrity, ethics — all Harry’s hallmarks.

    In the years after I left Crowe & Dunlevy, I saw Harry from time to time while out and about in OKC. Every time we had a wonderful conversation, and I enjoyed hearing about his multitude of interesting pursuits. I will always treasure the time I spent with Harry. There are few people in life whom I respect more. I am honored to have been Harry’s law partner. To Carol and the family, I hope you will be comforted by your memories of a life well-spent. A man like Harry is very rich indeed!

  9. Oh what a privilege it has been to have Carol and Harry as next door neighbors over the last 50 years. Judy and I have watched their two children grow, as they have watched our two boys grow.
    Both have always shown care and concern for us and listened to all of my informative
    (???) stories.
    I enjoyed the many impromptu times I was asked if I would like to go with him for a plane ride. Of course, I would go. He and Carol even took a boat ride with me on Lake Arcadia years ago. They got to do some bird watching.
    Now that Judy and Harry are both gone I guess Carol and I will have to keep track of each other.
    I don’t know the many ways to say what a privilege it has been to have known Harry and to express my feelings of as being such a perfect gentleman and neighbor.
    May God Bless the Woods Family, Relatives, friends, and associates in each and every way.

  10. Larry gave me a ride in his plane. He was so kind. I lived with Vic and Phyllis Ward then, and he gave us all a ride. We had so much fun and I will never forget those memories. I pray you rest at Jesus feet, till we meet again.

  11. What a lovely memorial service today! Thank you for streaming the services so that friends could be present online during a time when it isn’t possible for us to be there in person. As a Y friend of Carol’s, I’ve long known what an amazing man Harry was. Today I learned more about his career and, more importantly, what a wonderful father he was. Know that my prayers and love are with the family, now and in the days ahead.

  12. I was privileged to have Harry as a role model, both as a professional and a family person. Many of his qualities as an attorney have already been accurately described, so I will focus on two that stood out for me. They were most instructive and influential for me, because I struggled with these two virtues as a young attorney (and even as an old attorney). One was his seemingly infinite patience. In litigation you deal with clients who are angry, illogical, and ill-informed about the law and courts (some opposing counsel and judges are that way too). Harry would take however long it took to explain, carefully and logically, why a client’s ideas about the lawsuit were misguided, and steer the client toward the right path, all without ever making the client more angry or dissatisfied. I remember one meeting in particular, in a large conference room filled with clients and lawyers, that took up about an hour longer than it needed to, while Harry calmly explained to one unreasonable client why his proposals would not work or worse, would undermine our case. I was exasperated after ten minutes, but Harry maintained the same even demeanor and patience from the beginning to the very end of the meeting.

    Second, I very rarely saw Harry angry. Although he dealt with many difficult co-counsel and opposing attorneys, and we often experienced disappointments with judges’ rulings, Harry did not respond negatively or change his tone or approach. Perhaps most importantly, I never saw him angry with himself. That’s not because he never felt he might have erred. He would occasionally reflect on something he could have done better, but his attitude was to correct and press on rather than dwell on any perceived mistake.

    As if he didn’t have enough competing pressures to deal with, Harry would fly himself to out-of-town client meetings or court hearings whenever he could. My wife was always anxious about me flying in small, single engine planes, but you only had to fly once with Harry to have perfect confidence in him as a pilot. No matter what the work pressures or time constraints were, Harry would methodically go through every checklist and be laser focused on his piloting tasks. Once on a flight to Tulsa we experienced a mechanical problem that required us to return to the airport. Harry was unperturbed throughout, and after landing the malfunctioning plane, calmly rented another and away we went. While I was anxious about being late and displeasing the clients, Harry managed the meeting perfectly, as if nothing unusual had happened.

    These qualities of patience and level-headedness were all the more remarkable to me because Harry was able to maintain them, and enjoy a very successful professional career, while still balancing a wonderful personal and family life. What lawyer who has an active lifestyle and a rich family life hasn’t been impatient, or angry, because a meeting runs long, or a client emergency or a judge’s decision means staying late at the office all week? If Harry was angered in these situations, he never showed it. And in the normal workday, he would always find occasions, without it ever feeling forced, to let us know about his loving and prideful relationship with Carol, and to celebrate his experiences with Arthur and Beth Ann. He consistently demonstrated how you could be accomplished at work, active in your personal pursuits, and devoted to your family.

    I was proud to be associated with Harry for so many years, and my heart goes out to his family at this time of grievous loss.

  13. Carol, Beth and Family,
    Greatly saddened to hear of your loss. Harry was an amazing man and I feel fortunate to have known him.
    Hoping the love and joy he imparted will live on in your hearts.

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