Trailblazing ‘Buck Woods’ honoured
Eugene “Buck” Woods was thoroughly surprised the Saturday before Christmas with a birthday breakfast fete in honour of his 81st birthday.
Family and friends kept it absolutely quiet from him up to the moment he entered the spacious dining room of the spectacular Pompano Beach Club in Southampton.
Milton Samuel Eugene Woods was born in Somerset, the son of George “Slim” Phipps and Ruth Woods. His father was a skilled carpenter, a Bermuda Industrial Union organiser/founding member most remembered for his “positive loving spirit”, fondness for jokes and stories and his “legendary” cricket career.
Both of his parents originated from the Island of St Kitts & Nevis. Eugene's brothers are George Phipps, Rudolph Simons and Tommy, Gregory and Terrance Greaves; his sisters are Shirley, Helene, Jennifer and Tina Greaves. Eugene was raised by his grandmother on Cooks Hill and has fond memories of his childhood including “eating lots and lots of rice, an outhouse toilet and a rickety wooden house”.
Eugene attended West End Primary School in Sandys. An avid reader, including the Bible, he enjoyed gardening and playing the guitar daily as a peaceful and solitary refuge. As a youngster, Eugene's sporting outside of the home was playing cricket. A fast bowler, known for his legendary long run from the boundary to the wicket and excessive speed, he played Cup Match for Somerset Cricket Club at the age of 16.
Encouraged and supported by legendary Bermuda cricket greats Alma “Champ” Hunt and Chopper Hazel, he joined the English professional team Penzance, as player/coach at 18 years old. After retiring from Penzance, he enjoyed coaching youngsters' cricket at both Port Royal and Southampton Glebe schools.
He joined the Bermuda Police Force in 1956, attaining the rank of Sergeant during his service. In 1958, he married Jewell Raynor. They have been blessed with 58 years of marriage and have one son, Darren, who resides in Orlando, Florida and two daughters: Geneann and Laniece. They have six grandsons, one granddaughter and a daughter-in-law.
A long-time member of Mt Zion AME Church in Southampton, he has grown to enjoy the shepherding of past and current pastors and ministerial leaders supported by the enduring fellowship and friendship of various members. As a member of the choir, this has provided him the opportunity to sing praises to God at the church, local concerts and overseas events.
He previously offered a special tribute in thanks of the support he received from his Mt Zion family, friends and family members during an illness which prevented the celebration of his 80th birthday. To God he “gives the glory”, encouraged by one of his favourite Bible verses: “Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world”. 1 John 4 vs 1.
Yours truly, having several days before been roundly celebrated on my 90th birthday milestone, gladly joined the Woods family as they honoured “Buck” on his 81st milestone as a husband, father and grandfather and expressed appreciation for the love, support, character, sel?essness and values he imparted in their lives.
I took great pleasure in formally presenting “Buck” with a specially autographed copy of my book, Champ: The one and only Champ Hunt. I drew attention to Page 91, where “Buck” was singled out by name by the great Alma.