Marvin Charles Woods, 90 years, 9 months, 17 days was born at home on January 25, 1929 in Sumner, Washington to Floyd Marvin and Berniece Grace Woods, the third of 8 children. As a small boy his interest was in aviation. A neighbor took him for a ride in a plane and he was “hooked,” As a teenager, he worked for Boeing Aviation in Seattle.He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1948 and served until his honorary discharge in 1952. While at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois a fellow GI told him about Jesus and quoted many Scriptures to him. “Bud,” as Marvin was nicknamed almost from birth, thought he was a Christian and that he was good enough to make it into heaven. He thought when he died God, if there was a God, would put his good deeds on one side of the scale and his bad deeds on the other side of the scale, and his good deeds would outweigh his bad deeds and he would make it into heaven. But Jess Kellerman had planted God’s Word in his heart. He went back to his barracks, got out his Bible (his mother had given him) and read all the verses again. Then he knelt by his bunk and said, “God, you’re right and I’m wrong. I’m a sinner. I need to be saved and You gave Your Son, Jesus to die on the cross in my place for my sin that I might come to know You and spend eternity with You. Forgive me of my sin and save me.” From that day on Bud’s life was completely changed. He owned 60 acres of land in Washington State with a beautiful view of Mt. Rainier about 40 miles away as the crow flies. He planned, when he got out of the military, to build his dream house and live on that land. The first thing he did was write to his mother to tell her to sell the land. He was going to live where the Lord told him to live and serve Him.
Bud and other Christian GI’s at Langley Air Force base in Virginia formed a group that became very active in Youth For Christ and took others from the base and also local teenagers to YFC meetings and church evangelistic meetings in the area. Many came to Jesus because of their efforts.Bud served as personal radio operator for a 3 star general, General Glenn O Barkus and flew with him in the European theater. When Bud left the Air Force in 1952, he went to Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. He met Gladys in February 1953 and they were married on July 31 that year.They moved to Miami, FL later that year where Bud attended and graduated at the top of his class from Embry Riddle School of Aviation, obtaining his Airframe and Engine (now Powerplant) license, commercial pilot’s license, and instrument rating. Daughter Marlene was born there and then they returned to Gladys’ hometown of Frewsburg, NY. There were very few openings in Aviation in that area so he worked at various jobs. He bought an airplane and flew every spare moment to build up his hours. All the time he had aviation missions in mind. In 1956 they moved to Denver, Colorado. Bud worked at Stapleton Airport for a Cessna fixed base company and gained much experience in small aircraft. Daughter Julie was born there. In September 1958 they moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma where Bud attended Spartan School of Aeronautics, obtaining his Flight Engineer certification. United Airlines hired him to work as a Maintenance Engineer and they moved to Chicago. From there they moved to Los Angeles and then on to Seattle, Washington, still with United Airlines. Shortly after they moved to Washington, son Craig was born. In 1963, after losing his airplane in a violent Columbus Day windstorm, followed by a UAL merger with Capital Airlines and a station wide layoff in 1964, he felt the Lord’s leading to accept the severance pay offered and step out in faith to join Wycliffe Bible Translators in their Aviation program, JAARS. He and Gladys applied, were accepted, and went to Norman, Oklahoma for an abbreviated Linguistics course and Bud’s aviation evaluation, followed by survival training in the jungles of Mexico. He served with Wycliffe from August, 1964-2001 when he completed his last overseas assignment. In 1998 Bud wrote “Through the years, I have had a part in the Bible translation programs of many tribal language groups by transporting people and supplies to various locations, Most of those years I was involved in the operation of a DC-3 airplane. We served for many years in South America based in Quito, Ecuador, and flew in Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil. In 1992 we moved our DC-3 operation to Nairobi , Kenya. In Africa we were seconded to the Africa Inland Mission aviation program called AIM AIR. We flew throughout east and central Africa in Kenya, Tanzania, Somalia, Uganda, Rwanda, Zaire (now called the Democratic Republic of Congo), and Central African Republic. Besides the normal mission flying, we were involved in emergency relief flying caused by war.”Bud and Gladys also served two short term assignments in Cameroon, Africa, serving in construction the first time, and in aviation maintenance training of nationals the second time. In November 1999, Bud was awarded the prestigious FAA Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award, an award given to select aircraft mechanics who have excelled in their profession for at least 50 years. Bud loved mountain climbing, hiking, hunting, fishing and being with his wife, Gladys and his children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and friends and asking people if they knew Jesus. He is survived by his wife Gladys, daughter Marlene (Mark) Staples, daughter Julie (Tim) Staples, son Craig (Brenda) Woods, 11 grandchildren Brian Staples, Kevin Staples, Andrew Staples, Nathan Staples, Kara Gana, Roseanne Sadlier, Megan Blackwell, Ryan Staples, Devon Staples, Katherine Woods and Anna Woods, and 24 great grandchildren.
Memorial gifts in honor of Bud may be given to:
Wycliffe Bible Translators "Help Move Bible Translation Forward" project:
Hermon Baptist Church International Missions Fund
To send flowers to Marvin's family, please visit our floral section.