Celestine Woods was born in Mendenhall, Mississippi in 1945 but moved with her mother to Biloxi, MS in 1953. The daughter of the late Idonia Patterson (d. 1992) and Will Woods. Celestine was the niece of Reverend Sampson Patterson (d. 2000), sister to Isaac Rankin (d. 1996), and Johnny C. Brimage (d. 2000). Until her passing, Celestine’s daily life was shared with her dear sister and friend, Mary A. Sawyers. So close were these sisters that “Ms. Mary” and Celestine reared their children— Kimberly Woods-Riley (Tommy) of Nashville, TN, and Shelondrea Sawyers-Williams (Daniel) of San Antonio, TX— together as siblings.
Celestine Woods received her high school diploma from M.F. Nichols High School in 1964. Shortly after graduation, Woods was employed by the Gulf Coast Community Action Agency as a Pre-School Teacher in the Head Start Program where she worked from 1967 to 2010. When the Head Start Program went through restructuring, Woods continued her work as a Pre-School Teacher with Moore Community House from 2010 until her retirement in 2015. In August of that year, her accomplishments were celebrated in a surprise event dubbed “48 Years of Teaching Excellence.” Ms. Woods held an Associate of Applied Sciences Degree in Early Childhood Education from the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Jackson County Campus.
Celestine was intellectually bright, unassuming in demeanor, well-organized, responsible, and gifted in mathematics. Early in life, she became a member of the Main Street Baptist Church in Biloxi where she served as a teacher in Sunday School and Vacation Bible School. In her early time at Main Street, Celestine was one of the original members of the Gospel Chorus and later served on the Mother’s Board. A community servant, Woods received a Certificate in Tax Preparation from H&R Block and used it to prepare the taxes of her friends and neighbors, for more than 20 years. She had a huge heart for giving to her family and friends. This love was exemplified in her interactions with her nieces and nephews who knew that their Aunt was always there for them. Celestine believed in being a good steward over God’s financial blessing and she used every opportunity to teach the next generation how to excel in that area.
Darrell S. Woods of Champaign, IL is the beloved and cherished son of Celestine Woods. Darrell who was nurtured, raised, and blessed by his mother, was chosen by God to attend his mother in her final days. Darrell and his wife Natalia gave Celestine two grandchildren, Asha O. Woods and Asanté O.Woods, both of Champaign. Without question, Asha and Asanté were, next to God, the penultimate joy of Celestine’s heart and the light in her eyes. The valiant and noble battle that Celestine Woods waged against her illness was concluded on June 27, 2021. As her time on earth was drawing to a close, Celestine was able to affirm to her family that all was “in order” and that she was “ready.” To this, we say: “It is well with my soul.” Amen.
Funeral service will be held on July 3, 2021, at 11:00 am at Main Street Missionary Baptist Church. Visitation will start at 10:00 am.
Infinity Funeral Home is honored to serve the family of Ms. Celestine Woods. For inquiries, please call 228-436-6722.