John Bruce Wooding passed away peacefully at home on Friday, November 3, surrounded by his loving family, after suffering an extended illness.
John was born on February 14, 1957 to Jack and Helen Capron Wooding at Tripler Army Hospital in Honolulu, where his father was serving in the US Marines. Soon after, the family, which included his two sisters, moved to Greensboro, NC to be close to extended family. After graduating high school, John attended NC State University. During college one night, he came home from school to find a strange nurse, Terry Moir, eating his leftovers. She was a friend of his roommate’s girlfriend, who had arranged the meeting between the two. John graduated from NC State in 1980 with a major in Wildlife Ecology. On March 6, 1982 the nurse, no longer a stranger, became his wife.
John and Terry moved to Starkville, Mississippi, where John attended graduate school at Mississippi State University, earning a Master’s in Wildlife Ecology. John accepted a job working as a wildlife biologist for the Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission in Panama City, Florida, where their son, Frank, was born. A year later, John transferred to the Game & Fish Commission research laboratory in Gainesville, Florida, where their daughter, Sara, was born. John conducted research on black bears and fox squirrels, and assisted the other biologists researching Florida panthers, alligators, sandhill cranes, gopher tortoises, and many other species. While working, John attended the University of Florida earning his Doctorate in Wildlife Ecology. John started his own business, Coastal Plains Wildlife, where he conducted surveys on manatees, alligators, deer, and gopher tortoises, assisted private landowners with nuisance wildlife issues, and taught classes at the University of Florida. In 2008, John and Terry returned to the Piedmont Triad; John worked briefly for the NC Wildlife Resource Commission, then went on to teach biology and environmental science classes at Forsyth Technical Community College, Winston Salem State University, and High Point University before retiring in 2020.
John’s passion for learning and teaching about nature never ended. His wife and children fondly remember his teaching them about trees, grasses, wildflowers, and animal tracks on hikes, and stopping on the side of the road to examine roadkill and explain everything he knew about the species. In addition to hiking, he loved to birdwatch, canoe, camp, disc golf, and target shoot, and spent many fun hours scouring the internet and buying the perfect outdoor gear, jacket, or canoe.
But his passion for his family always came first. He and Terry enjoyed outdoor activities with each other, and spent time together in the kitchen cooking. Their last big trip together was to Washington state, where they visited their son Frank and daughter in law, Erica Dukes; John marveled at the duck and goose species, and the beautiful Douglas firs and western red cedars, that he had never seen before. They travelled to Knoxville, TN in August, where John, looking debonair in a tuxedo and straw fedora, proudly walked his daughter Sara down the aisle to marry Hunter Tipton.
In addition to his wife and children and their spouses, John is survived by his sisters, Gail Wooding and Marcia Caro, many loving nieces and nephews, and his Pembroke corgi, Duncan.
A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Trellis Supportive Care, 101 Hospice Ln., Winston-Salem, NC 27103. Hayworth-Miller Silas Creek Chapel is assisting the family of Mr. Wooding.