Edward Taylor ‘Ed’ Woods | 75 | Louisiana, MO
Edward Taylor Woods, 75 of Louisiana, MO, passed away at DePaul Hospital on Jan. 23, 2023.
Ed was born July 14, 1947 in Louisiana, MO to the late Nannie Butters Woods and Goodrich Euen Woods.
He married Regina DeBlasio (Morabito) on Aug. 4, 1986 at the American Association of Meat Processors annual convention which was held that year in Reno, Nevada. They recently celebrated 36 years of marriage.
Ed was formerly married to the late Marlene Wheatley and they had four children, Amanda, Rachel, Angela and Ryan.
He is a lifelong resident of Pike County, graduating from Bowling Green High School in 1965, then attending the University of Missouri-Columbia earning a bachelor’s degree in food science and nutrition in 1965. After working in Kansas City, KS for Wilson Certified Foods as a bacon product manager he returned to Bowling Green to the meat business his father had started in 1962, known as Woods Locker & Abattoir. In the years following, there were seven additions to the original building. The purchase of specialized equipment and the creation of the “Sweet Betsy from Pike” brand allowed the business to flourish and compete on a national level. He then helped expand the product line to include curing hams, bacon and producing sausage products and inventing porkburgers. Porkburgers are unique to Pike County, just one of the many products Woods Smoked Meats is famous for. In the 80’s with the encouragement of friends who wanted something else besides burger and roasts from their deer hunt Ed dealt into the world of summer sausage. He worked on the formula for venison summer sausage for five years before he was satisfied that he had a good product. That led to further development of using exotic meats such as buffalo, elk and antelope in summer sausage recipes.
Ed entered his first national competition in 1972 and came in (as he would say) dead last for his cured ham entry. After that his competitive spirit kicked in and with help from fellow processors in the Missouri Association of Meat Processors (MAMP), the American Association of Meat Processors (AAMP), university professors and endless hours of reformulating recipes he finally started winning at the cured meat shows. He never forgot the help he received and he was always eager to share his expertise. The last few years at the business he received phone calls from all over the country, processors who were having trouble either with their formulas or equipment eager to get Ed’s advice on perfecting their meat products.
Ed remained a humble man, despite the many awards and accolades he received over the years, and there were many. At Woods Smoked Meats the walls are filled with plaques and awards earned through the years of competition. Through Ed’s ability to produce a line of products from country hams to Cajun style items to Texas style BBQ beef brisket to summer sausage, snack sticks and jerky, to choice aged beef steaks and fresh pork cuts, attests to his expertise for developing a complete variety of gourmet meat products.
Woods Smoked Meats has been a member of MAMP since 1952 and a member of AAMP since 1954. Ed’s involvement with these groups has been extensive. He served as a member of various committees from 1986 to 1993 with AAMP then earned the title of 1st Vice President, Treasurer and President 1991-92 and was a member of the Executive Board for six years. In MAMP he served on the Board of Directors from 1972-79 and as President 1977-78. He served on the Missouri Beef Industry Council 1991-92. He has testified on behalf of AAMP at governmental hearings and has testified in Washington, D.C. concerning USDA oppression of small meat processors. He has spoken on behalf of small meat processors concerning E-Coli, HACCP, Nutritional Labeling and State and Federal Meat Inspection and been a featured speaker at various state and national conventions. He has served as a Judge at several AAMP and MAMP conventions.
Some of the awards he was most proud of are: 1991 – MAMP Hall of Fame; 1995 – AAMP Hall of Fame; 1999 – AAMP Annual Achievement Award; 2012 – MAMP Outstanding Service Award; 2016 – Meat Industry Hall of Fame
In 1994 he judged the Country Cured Ham Class at the Kentucky State Fair and has judged the Country Cured Ham and Bacon Class at the Missouri State Fair for years. He also has served as Judge for the Country Cured Ham Class at several local county fairs including Pike County. Woods Smoked Meats has always been a strong supporter of FFA programs at the area schools, 4H programs within the County and County Fair competitions for the youth.
One of Ed’s greatest professional memories was a 1995 voluntary assignment in Charjew, Turkmenistan (Central Asia) sponsored by Winrock International, accompanied by Morris Burger of Burgers’ Smokehouse, California, MO. They spent a month helping the Turkmen set up a sausage factory. He and Morris shared many stories of how they started with no hot water for sanitation, no outside communication, no phones, no fax, no newspapers; they were in almost total isolation. The goal was simply to teach and make products they could be proud of and be able to sell in the marketplace.
Ed and Regina went to China twice, first in 1991 on a People to People mission and in 1993 led an AAMP sponsored trip, serving as hosts and leaders of the trip. There were many trips they were able to take, both foreign and domestic, because of their employee’s abilities to manage the business in a way that maintained the high standards the community had come to expect from Woods Smoked Meats.
Another highlight of his career was entering product in the largest meat industry trade show in the world held in Frankfurt, Germany every three years. The meat competition is organized by the German Butchers Society (DFV). Winners of this competition are awarded gold, silver and bronze medals and Woods Smoked Meats was honored to win medals in all categories that were entered. He was privileged to judge product along with the German judges at the last trade show he attended. It was the first time the DFV had asked an American meat processor to assist with judging.
He served as an Alderman for the City of Bowling Green 1987-92 and he and fellow Alderman Jim Gott were instrumental in establishing a separate bank account for the purchase of the City’s firetruck. Was President of the Bowling Green Jaycees 1977-78. From 1987-90 he served on the Board of Directors for the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce. He has been a member of the Elks Lodge #791 since 1986.
In November 2020 Ed and Regina were fortunate to sell Woods Smoked Meats to HWC Meats. Within six months Steve Bolton, one of the partners, became the sole owner of the business and the standards established by Goodrich & Nannie Woods and passed on to Edward & Regina Woods will continue under Steve’s excellent leadership.
He is survived by his wife, Regina, children Amanda (Jason) Beasley, Galveston, TX; Rachel (Ron) Dyer, Lee’s Summit, MO; Angela (Mathew) Muether, Wichita, KS; Ryan (Erin Langdon) Woods, Columbia, MO. Stepchildren Dawn Morabito, Seattle, WA; Christine Morabito, St. Louis, MO; Karina Edmond, Bowling Green, MO. 11 Grandchildren-Hannah (Jackson) Ma, Cordelia, Paige, Elsa, Emmeline, Veronica, Rowan, Reid, Darby(Aaron) Peters, Taylor, Callie and one Great Grandchild Leon Jack Ma. Also a special cousin, Phyllis (Bud) Hardin of Los Gatos, CA.
Not to be forgotten is Ed’s recliner buddy, Buckwheat the cat!
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Missouri Association of Meat Processors (MAMP) Scholarship Fund or the American Association of Meat Processors (AAMP) Scholarship Fund care of Bibb-Veach Funeral Home, 606 W Main St., Bowling Green, MO 63334.