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Rev. James Rayford Woodrick

May 30, 1935 January 26, 2021
Rev. James Rayford Woodrick
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Obituary for Rev. James Rayford Woodrick
James Rayford Woodrick, 85, died on January 26, 2021 at St. Dominic Hospital in Jackson. A retired United Methodist minister, Rayford was born on May 30, 1935, in Meridian, Mississippi, to Ben and Marie Woodrick. He earned a degree at Meridian Community College, a B.A. in Religion at Millsaps College in 1957, where he played on the Majors football team, and a Masters of Divinity from the Iliff School of Theology in Denver in 1961. He also completed studies in the Doctor of Ministerial Studies at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University and in Clinical Pastoral Education at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
As an ordained elder in the Mississippi United Methodist Conference, he served on the Georgetown-Carson Charge; McLain; Andrew Chapel and Daleville; East End in Meridian; and Briarwood in Jackson. While a student at Iliff, he was pastor of the churches at Hillrose and Snyder, Colorado. In 1983, he became the editor of the Mississippi United Methodist Advocate and the Conference News Director, where he served for fourteen years. Following retirement, he worked for both the East and West Jackson District offices and for eight years, was Minister of Missions at St. Matthews United Methodist Church in Madison and served as the pastor at Sharon UMC for several years. As a member of the Annual Conference, he was the Mississippi Conference Statistician for four years; served for twelve years as a member of the Committee on Ethnic Local Church Development; was a member of the Board of Ordained Ministry, and the Board of Trustees for the Mississippi United Methodist Foundation for nineteen years. He was also active in the Mississippi Religious Leadership Conference and had a special love for Hispanic missions and led a number of mission trips to Mexico. Each morning he studied in Spanish and was especially fond of reading theologian Justo Gonzalez. A John Wesley scholar, Rayford had the opportunity to go to England for a Wesley Heritage Tour and later participated in an exchange pastorate in north Wales.
In addition to his love for the United Methodist Church, Rayford had many hobbies and interests. He especially loved visiting Cherokee, North Carolina, and the Great Smoky Mountains, where he was a backpacker for almost three decades and enjoyed his time with the “preachers” group. His love of music spanned almost his entire life. A skilled tuba player, he marched with the 1952 and 1953 Mississippi All-State Lions Band, was active in the Windjammers Unlimited (an international association for the preservation of circus band music), was a member of the Capital City Concert Band and one of the organizers of the Mississippi Community Symphonic Band, and played in both the Banjo Band and the Oompah Band. During his ministry in Dekalb, he was the band director at Dekalb High School and later taught sociology at Meridian Junior College. For many years, he has also delighted in being “Santa” for numerous children.
Rayford is survived by his loving wife of 62 years, Rosa Ann Woodrick of Ridgeland, his son Jim and his wife Mary Margaret, also of Ridgeland; grandchildren Adam Minninger (Stephanie) of Madison and Molly Minninger of Knoxville, Tennessee; brother Norman Woodrick of Ridgeland; sister-in-law Audrey Hardin of Ridgeland; and numerous nephews, nieces and grand nephews and nieces. He was preceded in death by his brother Rev. Lavelle Woodrick and sister Mary Alice Cumberland.
Graveside services will be held at the Jessamine Cemetery in Ridgeland at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, January 29. The family asks that memorials be made to Millsaps College, St. Matthews United Methodist Church or the Mississippi Community Symphonic Band.
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11:00 AM 1/29/2021 11:00:00 AM
Jessamine Cemetery in Ridgeland

306 Sagewood Dr
Ridgeland, MS 39157

Jessamine Cemetery in Ridgeland
306 Sagewood Dr Ridgeland 39157 MS
United States

Cemetery Details


Jessamine Cemetery in Ridgeland Final Resting Place

306 Sagewood Dr
Ridgeland, MS 39157

306 Sagewood Dr Ridgeland 39157 MS
United States

Memorial Contribution

St. Matthew's United Methodist Church

7427 Old Canton Road
Madison, MS 39110

Mississippi Community Symphonic Band

P O Box 320602
Flowood, MS 39232

Millsaps College

1701 North State St.
Jackson, MS 39210

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