Alabama Academy of Honor


John Witherspoon Woods

The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 1984 and 2003.



John W. Woods was born August 18, 1931, in Evanston, Illinois. He received his formal education at Lawrenceville School, Lawrenceville, New Jersey, and the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee.

He joined the Chemical Bank of New York in 1954. His employment was interrupted during the years of 1955 to 1957 when he served as a pilot in the United States Air Force.

Mr. Woods was Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of AmSouth Bancorporation and of AmSouth Bank, N.A. which included what was formerly known as The First National Bank of Birmingham.

His qualities of leadership in finance propelled him to the top position with Alabama's largest banking institution. These important responsibilities did not kept him from being willing to share his expertise in management with other business enterprises. Mr. Woods was a board member of Alabama Power Company, Avondale Mills, Protective Corporation and McWane, Inc.

His interest in education at all levels felt the impact of his dedication, particularly in the four-year colleges. He served as a member of the President's Council, University of Alabama 1979-82; as an Executive in Resident, University of Montevallo, 1978-79; and as chairman, Board of Regents, 1978-79 and member, Board of Regents, 1973-79 of the University of the South. He served as a trustee of Miles College, 1978-present and Tuskegeee Institute, 1983-2002.

Mr. Woods did not hesitate to give freely of his time and means to civic endeavors. The Boy Scouts of America Children's Hospital, Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, and Alabama Symphony were beneficiaries of his energy and ability to name only a few.

He was a member of the Episcopal Church of the Advent.

He was listed in Who's Who in America.

He married Loti Moultrie Chisolm on September 5,1953, and they had three daughters: Loti Cornelia Woods, Cynthia (Woods) Clark, and Cornelia (Woods) Gillespie.

Mr. Woods passed away in November 2002.