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Former McComb mayor J.C. Woods dies

(AP) — Two-term Mayor James C. Woods has died after succumbing to cancer.

Friends confirmed that Woods, who went by “J.C.,” died Wednesday at Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center surrounded by his family. He was 82.

The Enterprise-Journal reports funeral arrangements, being handled by Hartman-Jones Funeral Home of McComb, are incomplete.

Woods served as mayor from 1995 to 2002.

Former city administrator Sam Mims said he met Woods after he announced his candidacy in 1994 and the two quickly became friends. He said Woods, retired from the pharmaceutical industry, had a lot of pride in his hometown.

Mayor Whitney Rawlings, who won a selectman’s seat when Woods was mayor, has ordered flags on city buildings to be flown at half-staff through Friday in Woods’ recognition.

“I was proud to do that,” he said.

Rawlings described Woods’ McComb roots, and how glad he was to be able to return home after a long and successful career in business.

“He brought his business acumen to the table. The budget process was easy to him. And to my mind he was a true conservative,” he said.

Woods, the son of a railroad worker, supported McComb’s efforts to honor its railroad history. His administration saw the antique train display move from Edgewood Park to downtown, the renovation of the train depot and the construction of a downtown pavilion.

“His work initiated the revitalization of downtown. He brought the first TAP (Transportation Alternatives Program) grant to the city, which began the revitalization of Railroad Boulevard,” Rawlings said.

“He was firm leader, ran a good meeting, and he stayed on task,” Rawlings said. “And this guy loved the City of McComb.”

Mims said the major accomplishments of Woods’ administration included efficient budgeting without sacrificing public services and the ability to keep things professional among elected officials, even in the case of disagreements.

“He was a real fiscal conservative guy. He was like that in his family life and personal finance,” he said. “And he felt the same way in government. I think he passed that on to city government for those eight years.”