Henry Woods was born on March 17,
1918, in Abbeville, Mississippi. He attended the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, where he received a
bachelor's degree in 1938 and a law degree in 1940. Shortly
afterward, he formed a partnership in Texarkana with Philip G.
Alston under the name of Alston & Woods. On March 3, 1941,
Woods became a special agent of the Federal Bureau of
Investigation. In 1946, he returned to Texarkana and reestablished
the law firm of Alston & Woods. In 1948, Woods managed Sid
McMath's successful campaign for Arkansas governor and served as
McMath's executive secretary from 1949 to 1953. Woods and McMath
joined Leland F. Leatherman in forming a Little Rock law firm in
1953. In 1970, Woods coordinated Dale Bumpers' successful campaign
for the Arkansas governorship.
He was a Special Associate Justice,
Arkansas Supreme Court from 1967 to 1974. Woods was nominated by
President Jimmy Carter on December 14, 1979, to a federal judgeship
on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of
Arkansas. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on February
20, 1980, and received his commission the same day. He assumed
senior status on March 1, 1995.
Woods served in many professional
organizations: as president of the Arkansas Bar Association, during
1972-1973; as a member of the National Board of Governors of the
Association of Trial Lawyers; as chairman of the Supreme Court
Committee on Model Jury Instructions; as chairman of the Board of
Directors of the Arkansas Law Review; as chairman of the Trust
Committee of the Arkansas Bar Foundation; as chairman and member of
the Board of the Center for Trial and Appellate Advocacy at
Hastings College of the Law, University of California; and as a
member of the International Society of Barristers.
Woods also served in several civic
capacities. From 1974 to1978 he was a member of the executive board
of the Institute of Politics and Government; chairman of the Legal
Task Force of the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families;
from 1953-1957 he was a leader of the Ford Foundation Great Books
program in Little Rock; and member of Advisory Board of Catholic
High School, Little Rock, Arkansas.
During his lifetime, Judge Woods
received many professional awards. Among them are the Outstanding
Lawyer Award, 1975, and a Senior Member Award, 1990, by the
Arkansas Bar Association; the Distinguished Alumnus Award,
University of Arkansas, 1979; the 1985 Outstanding Lawyer Award,
Pulaski County Bar Association; and the American Inns Of Court
Foundation awards, 1988 and 1995. At the 1990 annual meeting of the
Arkansas Bar Association, Judge Woods was selected as the
Outstanding Trial Judge by the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association.
He also authored numerous legal articles, among them a treatise on
"Comparative Fault" published in 1978.
Judge Woods was married to the
former Kathleen Mary McCaffrey. They had four children: Mary Sue,
Thomas Henry, Eileen Anne, and James Michael. Judge Henry Woods
died March 14, 2002, at eighty-three years of age.