Ohio State’s Dr. Jon Woods Dies at Age 76

Dr. Jon Woods, former Ohio State University marching band director, died on Sept. 12 at the age of 76. Woods had been with the program for 38 years prior to his retirement in 2012. In recent years, he suffered from Parkinson’s disease and dementia.

“My students are my legacy,” Woods was fond of saying, according to his obituary.

News of his death reached the band as alumni rehearsed for their yearly reunion performance on the same day. Reports say that many of the members were overcome with emotion.

Later that day at the “Skull Session,” the band’s pre-game rehearsal open to the public, Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer led a moment of silence in Woods’ honor.

“The Ohio State University community is very sad today to hear about the passing of longtime band director Dr. Jon Woods,” said the university’s official statement. “Jon Woods was dedicated to precision performance on the field, and this remains the hallmark of the Ohio State Band.”

Also during that morning’s rehearsal, alumnus Bill Werner collapsed and died on the practice field. The 65-year-old is believed to have had a heart attack.

A celebration of Woods’ life and career was held in the university’s St. John Arena on Sept. 20.

The band is currently led by interim director Christopher Hoch.

Photo from Dr. Jon Woods’ retirement season in 2011 by Ed Crockett.

About the author

Elizabeth Geli

Elizabeth Geli is the assistant editor of Halftime Magazine and a journalist/communications professional in Southern California. Her 11 years at the University of Southern California (USC) Trojan Marching Band included time as a flute player, graduate teaching assistant, and student advocate. She holds a bachelor's degree in Print Journalism and master's degree in Specialized Journalism (The Arts) from USC.

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