Veterinarian was known for hard work, empathy
The summers that Robert Woods spent on a farm in Ross during his school breaks helped prepare him for a career as a veterinarian.
The experience, said his son, Jeffrey Woods, owner of the Misty Pines Dog Park in Franklin Park, gave his father some idea of procedures he would someday need and it also provided the experience of working with animals and their concerned owners.
Dr. Robert James Woods of McCandless, former owner of the Perry Animal Hospital in Ross, died Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010, in UPMC Passavant in McCandless. He was 85.
“Dad was an expert diagnostician, who didn’t need a battery of tests to figure out what an animal was experiencing,” said Jeffrey Woods.
“His clients liked my father because he was an honest veterinarian and was willing to put in the hours and effort when it came to treating the animals that were brought to him,” his son added.
“And although Dad had offers from other veterinarians in the North Hills to work for them when he completed his studies at the University of Pennsylvania, he wanted to go out on his own,” said his son.
“Dad would often tell us that you can do anything you want in this world,” his son added.
Dr. Woods’ wife, Mary Ellen “Mimi” Woods, recalled that it was this same determination to succeed in life that she appreciated when she first met him at the University of Pittsburgh in 1946 where they were both students.
“Bob had been discharged from the Army and was using his GI Bill to receive his education,” said Mrs. Woods. “He was focused on what he wanted to do, as were most of the servicemen who attended Pitt at that time and wanted an education.
“They didn’t come to party,” Mrs Woods added. “They were a focused group who came to class in suits and neckties and wanted to learn,” she added. “Many of them had families they needed to support, besides going to school.
“We were married in 1949,” said Mrs. Woods. “Bob completed his studies for his DVM (doctor of veterinary medicine) degree at the University of Pennsylvania in 1955. By that time, we had three children and Bob worked at numerous side jobs while going to school.
“And Bob was pleased that years later he would be asked to join the faculty at Pitt,” his wife added.
Upon returning to the North Hills, Dr. Woods opened his Perry Animal Hospital in McCandless, which he operated for 51 years.
Jeffrey Woods said he and his brothers and sisters often sought out their father for advice — as did their friends.
“We also had friends coming to our house all hours of the day,” said Woods. “If any of them had a problem and wanted to talk to Dad, he made time for them.”
In addition to his son, Jeffrey, and his wife, Mr. Woods is survived by children, Mark Woods of Avalon, Christopher Woods of Franklin Park, Anita Prichard of Brentwood, Tenn. and Paula Trautman of Ross; 17 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Friends received from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. today at George A. Thoma Funeral Home Inc., 10418 Perry Highway, McCandless.
A Funeral Mass will be said at 10 a.m. Monday in St. Alexis Church, McCandless.