Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, August 27, 2009


Page 4


Justice Fred Woods’ High School Inducts Him Into Hall of Fame


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Court of Appeal Justice Fred Woods of this district’s Div. Seven will be inducted into the Harvester Hall of Fame at Pampa High School in the eastern Texas Panhandle, school officials said.

The induction will take place in Pampa on Sept. 18.

Woods, 74, was a key member of the school’s undefeated 1953 state championship basketball team, which defeated larger schools from Houston and Austin in the final rounds of the state tournament. Woods was named to the All-State team that year and went on to play basketball at Rice University and serve in the U.S. Navy before attending Loyola Law School.

The justice said yesterday he was looking forward to “a delightful time” at the event, which he plans to attend with his wife Penny, who was a Rice classmate and the 1957 Cotton Bowl Queen. He has occasionally, but not frequently returned to Pampa for various events, including the naming of the school gym for his high school basketball coach, Clifton McNeely.

He compared his old coach to UCLA’s legendary John Wooden. McNeely, he said, “believed in conditioning and fundamentals, and no one ever outran us in the fourth quarter.”

He said he was honored to be chosen for the Hall of Fame because the school was doing “more than just honoring me for my basketball career back there.”

The major function of the Hall of Fame, he explained, is to hold out the graduates as role models for the current student body. By highlighting the post-high school careers of alumni, Woods said, the school is saying that “even the least of you can rise to a position of prominence, just be a good citizen and do your work.”

Woods earned his law degree in 1963 and was admitted to the State Bar the following year. He spent 20 years in law practice in Long Beach, becoming senior litigator at the firm that eventually became Riedman, Dalessi, Woods and Dybens.

He was appointed to the Los Angeles Superior Court in 1984 by then-Gov. George Deukmejian, who had practiced with the same firm before becoming state attorney general in 1979, and will be honored by the California Judges Association next month for completing 25 years of judicial service. He presided over criminal and civil trials and in the law and motion department, and also served in the Appellate Department, before being elevated to the Court of Appeal in 1988.


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