Beloved Xaverian High School coach and counselor has died

BAY RIDGE — John Joseph Woods embodied the finest attributes of being a teacher. In fact, during his 38 years at Xaverian High School in Bay Ridge, Woods wore many hats, serving as a coach, guidance counselor and head coach on both the varsity baseball and varsity basketball teams. Woods was born Sept. 27, 1936 and died on Saturday, Feb. 1.

Woods began his career at Xaverian in 1960 and worked there until his retirement in 1998. He was a community leader and a member of the St. Francis Society, the Padraic Society and the Xaverian Athletic Hall of Fame.

“John’s passing will leave a void that cannot be filled, but we are certain that his memory will continue to live on through the lives he impacted as an educator, counselor and coach,” read a statement issued by Xaverian High School.

“The core of what Xaverian truly stands for, whether today or back in 1957 when the doors of 7100 Shore Rd. first opened, has always been to give our lives in service to others,” the statement continued. “Mr. John Woods has truly done just that.”

Testimonials have been pouring in from Woods’ former students. Attorney Rob Rich remembers Woods as a great educator. “I remember Mr. Woods as one of my favorite teachers,” Rich told this paper. “I really liked him and he will be missed.”

1974 photo of Xaverian High School teacher John Woods in the classroom.

Xaverian President Robert Alesi said knowing Woods was a blessing. “While I am saddened to hear of John’s passing, I can’t help but smile at the blessing he was to the Xaverian community,” said Alesi.

“It was my great fortune to have John as a teacher, coach and colleague,” Alesi added. “My prayers are with the Woods family as well as our own Xaverian family. He was a giant.”

City Councilmember Justin Brannan remembered Woods as a good man who truly cared about his students.

“Mr. Woods looked after many of us smart and restless troublemakers at Xaverian High School,” Brannan told this paper.

“I can personally attest to his teaching, guidance and friendship during those often confusing and crazy formative years. Worlds later, I would become friends with his amazing wife and daughter. Mr. Woods was a great man. People like to say, ‘They don’t make people like that anymore.’ When they say that, they’re talking about people like Mr. Woods. He had a great heart and an all-knowing smile. I will miss him dearly,” Brannan added.

Woods was an Army veteran who served with the National Guard, 69th Infantry Regiment. He is survived by his wife Melanie, his children, and his grandchildren. 

Xaverian High School teacher John Woods in 1973.

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