JONATHAN CARL WOODS

1939 – 2023

 

His exuberant personality and big heart

 

Jonathan (R), wife Janet, and son Jonathan Harrison.

Jonathan Carl Woods—a brilliant entrepreneur, jovial extrovert, and doting husband, father and grandfather—was celebrated by all who knew him for his exuberant personality and big heart. That heart finally gave out on Thursday, December 28, 2023, at Scripps Memorial Hospital in Encinitas, CA, his family at his side. He was 84.

Profiled in the “Who’s Who of the West”, Jonathan, a chemical engineer and owner of Corchem Corporation for 63 years, developed innovative products for the oil/petroleum manufacturing industry. He adored his job but family came first, his wife, Janet Sue Woods, daughter Nicola Suzanna, and son Jonathan Harrison, all cherished in individual ways. While Jonathan’s sole purpose was to make Janet happy, he wanted to give his children everything—and he did.

Jonathan Harrison, Dad, and Nicola.

Along with raising them with his humor and unmatched values, “He loved watching us play sports and supporting us in every way possible,” Nicola said.

The youngest of two sons, Jonathan was born August 11, 1939, in Wooster, Ohio to Ruth Louise Woods, a homemaker, and Carl Stoner Woods, a dentist. His parents soon divorced and he was raised by his single, stay-at-home mother with lots of help from his older brother, Martin Edward Woods, whom Jonathan loved hanging out with. The trio moved to California, where Jonathan eventually graduated from Alhambra High School, joined the U.S. Marine Corps, and served for four years.

The love of his life

Jonathan, son Jonathan Harrison, and Janet.

Jonathan met the love of his life, Janet Sue Parker, in the early 1970s, and they married on April 4th, 1975, at St Paul’s Lutheran Church in Laguna Beach. Where Janet was a petite and elegant blonde, Jonathan made up for his lack of stature (just 5 foot 3) with his joyful personality and gregarious nature. If the two argued, which was seldom, words would be exchanged, but their love for each other made way to forgiveness. Janet would cook a lovely gourmet dinner and Jon, as she called him, would ooh and aah with delight.

Their children, Nicola born in 1972, and Jonathan Harrison born in 1976, were Jonathan’s pride and joy. During these years, Jonathan attended Redlands University, where he earned a B.S. in Business.

According to his daughter, her dad was a “yes” man. “Whenever my mom said ‘no’ to either my brother or me, we knew we could go to my dad, and he would say ‘yes’ and convince my mom to give in,” Nicola said. “He was very persuasive.” (I dislike adverbs like “persuasively,” so I kept this as is. Plus, didn’t want to use persuasive twice. You can always rewrite.)

Napping with grandson Tyler.

He was also very hands-on. Despite a heavy work schedule, Jonathan and Janet never missed their kids’ sporting events. Nicola competed in gymnastics, and when she moved to Sacramento in 7th and 8th grade to work with a special gymnastics coach, her dad would make it a point to fly through Sacramento for all his business trips to visit her.

When Janet signed up her husband to coach their son’s soccer team, Jonathan eagerly complied though he knew nothing about soccer. He fell in love with the game, so much so that he became Regional Commissioner of AYSO Laguna Niguel and then AYSO Area Commissioner for several years. He took his son to play in tournaments in Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Germany, Brazil, and Argentina.

A talent for formulating better products

As for his career, Jonathan went from working at a gas station and the Alhambra Library to a job with a paint manufacturer. Once he realized his talent for formulating better products, he launched his own business. Aside from his remarkable inventiveness, Jonathan could win people over in an instant with his ebullient personality. If his daughter went to pick up his prescription at the drugstore, all the clerks would recognize Jonathan Wood’s name and comment on what a nice, kind man he was.

A Benihana birthday was always on the menu.

He was equally effusive with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, attending their sporting events and providing guidance when needed.  While he loved his job, he was always available for his family.

After residing in Seal Beach for several years, the Woods bought a home on the beach in Dana Point and finally moved to Carlsbad, where they have lived for the last 25 years. Jonathan, a Christian, led the family with integrity, strong morals, and an incredible work ethic. But he also knew how to have fun. Birthdays were special and always celebrated with great flourish at Benihana.

Father and the son he lost.

A riveting storyteller, he remembered everything from his life and could talk and talk. When Nicola would drive him from California to Texas for business, he would talk for the entire 17 hours.

“My dad was calm and sweet and willing to listen to you anytime you had a question or needed to talk,” Nicola said. “He liked to joke with us kids and tease my mom but never in a cruel way. He taught us not to take ourselves too seriously.”

Heartbreak

It happened so unexpectedly, the death of his son, Jonathan Harrison, on January 1, 2008.

“My brother was an amazing man and a great father like my dad,” Nicola said. “My dad had a difficult time grieving my brother and was never able to reconcile with the meaning of losing his son.”

Jonathan and his Janet.

He put on a good face for the rest of the family, however. Miranda Berkman, his son’s girlfriend at the time, later commented about Jonathan, Sr.: “I’ve never seen a man watch his family more adoringly. Everything he did was for his family, and family was not only considered blood, but he also welcomed everyone into his family.”

A politically savvy Republican, Jonathan watched Fox News religiously. Piles of papers littered his office desk, but he knew exactly where everything was. He had files for everything: each dog, each of his kids, grandkids, trips taken, medical records, and every formula he ever produced. A perfectionist, he thrived on his routines and systems, which could annoy the family but made his life, and the lives of his family, so much better.

“But he never did anything “half-assed” (one of his favorite expressions) and was always right,” Nicola said. Another favorite saying was, “To make a long story short”, which was impossible for him to do, she laughed. Other oft-heard expressions: “I am going to be obnoxiously positive and cautiously optimistic” and “Some people never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” Or “That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.”

Hooked on mystery novels

An avid sports enthusiast, he watched the Green Bay Packers and USC football, Los Angeles Angels Baseball, LA Lakers Basketball, and LA Galaxy Soccer. He would root for whatever team the family members loved and cheer them on till the end. Always on the go, he never napped or took breaks so Janet got him hooked on mystery novels, which he thoroughly enjoyed.

Although not a partier, he loved his cocktails: Red Wine, Southern Comfort Manhattan, Shiner Bock Beer, and a Cadillac Margarita.

With grandsons

Grandpa with Hunter and Tyler, Nicola’s sons.

He worshipped his pets: his dogs Wendy, Tuffy, Omar, Max, and Jake, all deceased, and his Izzie, who survived him. There were various birds and fish throughout the years, and he cared for his grandson Hunter’s turtle, Mr. Whittaker, and his dog, Mr. Peanut Butter.

His precious Janet was with him constantly at the end, leaving for a short break only to return 10 minutes after Jonathan passed away. Also with him were his daughter Nicola and grandsons Jonathan P. Woods and Hunter C. Woods. Standing vigil for the last few hours were grandchildren Tyler Woods, Audra Woods, Lily Woods, great-grandson Landon Woods, and his late son’s girlfriend, Miranda Berkman.

A Viewing/Visitation will be held on Wednesday, January 10th from 11:15- 12:15 at Oceanside Mortuary,  602 South Coast Hwy, Oceanside, CA 92054. A Funeral Church Service in Jonathan’s honor will follow from 12:15- 1:10. (Parking is limited at the mortuary and attendees may need to walk a bit.) Burial Service from 2:00- 2:30 at Eternal Hills Cemetery, 1999 El Camino Real, Oceanside, CA 92054.

A light buffet will follow at the Woods’ home at 6374 Topmast Dr., Carlsbad, CA 92011. Jonathan loved flowers. “We will love any flowers given or sent to us,” Nicola said.

 

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