Jackson Spurgeon Woodward Jr .73, died from natural causes on March 31, 2020 at his home in Spring, Texas.
He is survived by his son Scott Woodward of Austin; his sisters Jan Fox of Houston, Jo Moore of Miami, and Dow O’Brien of San Juan Capistrano; his step-brother Tuck Henry of Dallas; his nephews David Fine of New York City, Ben Ramsey of San Francisco and Nick Moore of Houston; his niece Jennifer Jilot of Phoenix; and a raft of much beloved cousins and extended family.
Jack was born on August 12, 1946 in Dallas, Texas to Jackson Spurgeon Woodward Sr and Louie January Woodward. He was the third of their four children together. Jack’s two older sisters, Jane Elioseff and Susan Fine, preceded him in death, as did his younger brother, Roger Henry. Jack graduated from Saint Mark’s School in Dallas, Texas, which he attended for 12 years and where he became a star broad jumper and hurdler through sheer persistence, gained no doubt through performing the semi-herculean task of maintaining the sprawling yard and weedy lake around the house throughout the Dallas summer. It was a relief when he got a construction job -- particularly for the snakes in the lake.. Jack took pride in his active and healthy lifestyle, and the social life that followed the development of his muscles.. Jack possessed a keen interest in engineering and problem solving and pursued a degree in architecture at Princeton University. until he took a hiatus to work with VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America). Living and working in Spanish Harlem, Jack became a neighborhood organizer and advocate for tenants.. The Vietnam War gave Jack the opportunity to serve in the National Guard and jump out of airplanes at night, an often cited highlight of his life.
Rediscovering civilian life on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin following his time in the Guard, Jack became one of the early self-described computer nerds, a title he wore with pride. His programming skills and Guard experience won him a high level security clearance and employment at Lockheed Martin, where he said he was doing really cool things he couldn’t tell anyone about. Through his work, he became one of the pioneers in Artificial Intelligence . In his personal life, he and Anne Ballard were married; and from their union was born their son Scott, who would come to share his father’s passion for science fiction, elaborate fantasy games and the absurd. As a father, Jack was unfailingly loving and supportive, even through divorce, a relocation to Houston and upheavals in his career.
Jack Woodward was at heart a consummate builder and problem solver. He never shied away from a difficult challenge, whether involving physical construction or the computer code of a software program. Intelligent and skilled in labor and construction, he always preferred to handle most jobs personally, from programming and stocks to repair work around the home and was quick to offer those services to friends and family (often to the gratitude and occasionally to the frustration of those who loved him). His mind was forever on the move, asking questions and finding solutions to problems great and small, and he took great joy in offering his thoughts and stories with everyone who shared his company. His heart was full of love and compassion, but wounded by adversity. Much of his life was a stumbling journey in a vast wilderness, a struggle to find his way to a better place without losing the path and getting turned around on the dark. He is, then and now, a guide and a light to all who knew him.