Posted by: Janet Hughes | August 25, 2008

We will miss you, Dr. Woods

Website Photo Floyd Woods 07With profound sadness, I’m sorry to inform you our dear friend and loyal supporter, Dr. Floyd Woods, passed away peacefully in his sleep after a long battle with cancer during the morning of August 25, 2008.

No words can express our grief at Vision First Foundation. Dr. Woods was truly “one-in-a-million.”

For the lucky ones who knew Floyd Woods, we share the same deep sorrow. For those who never met this great man, may you wish you did.

I met Dr. Woods six years ago when I began my vision mission, thanks to Dr. Floyd Mizener, after my letter to the American Optometric Association was featured in their national magazine, the AOA News.

We quickly became friends. We shared the same dreams for children’s vision. Dr. Woods was our founding Vision First secretary-treasurer. Vast experience and knowledge made him a key member on our Vision First board of directors.

Did you know Dr. Woods was a practicing optometrist for over 56 years? He was a past president of the Illinois Optometric Association and a past school board member. He held a master’s degree in reading from Loyola University. Dr. Woods was a “behavioral optometrist” and proud of it. And since he was good friends with Dr. Floyd Mizener, he coined himself, “Floyd the younger,” since he was the younger Floyd by two years. Dr. Mizener was, “Floyd the older.” His leadership and dedication to the profession of optometry made him a hero.

The two Floyds were quite a team. Together with Dr. Larry Vogel and the late Dr. Irving Kernis, the two Floyds formed the Optometric Four Horsemen and Cavalry. Optometry’s roots in functional vision would be preserved while medical optometry advanced.

I’ll never forget the ring on his cell phone—chirping birds. It seemed that his cell phone rang every time I called his regular phone. No doubt about it…Dr. Woods was a popular man. Oh how I miss hearing those birds. That chirping was symbolic of his fun, free spirit.

Dr. Woods loved children, and children loved him. His eye exams weren’t scary… they were FUN! He truly loved being an eye doctor. He believed vision screenings were inadequate, and thought “nothing less than a comprehensive eye and vision examination by an eye doctor was good enough for our children…period.”

When we traveled to Peoria in 2004 with Nora for the Illinois PTA convention, it was a weekend I’ll never forget. Nora and I felt like we were with royalty. Dr. Woods always wanted to “break the ice” and insert laughter whenever he could, too. When it was our turn to defend the resolution, he went to the microphone and said, “A little boy asked his grandma, ‘How old are you?’ She replied, ‘29 and holding.’ The little boy responded, ‘How old would you be if you let go?’” The room burst into laughter. The resolution passed that night. We were on our way to raising the standards for children’s vision.

Dr. Woods was my mentor. He was my confidant. There were so many great times. Here is my tribute to Dr. Floyd Woods…memorable quotes I’ll hold dear to my heart:

“There is a national movement to mandate eye and vision examinations for all school children. Kentucky, Missouri, and now Illinois, are in the vanguard of this movement. The Vision First Foundation, an Illinois 501(c)(3) not-for-profit under the dynamic leadership of Mrs. Janet Hughes, led the entire process of passing the Illinois legislation. Vision screening is totally inadequate and must be replaced by mandated comprehensive eye and vision examinations by eye doctors. You might feel I am rather braggadocios, but I have been fighting for children’s rights for many years.
Dr. Floyd Woods”

His dreams were inspiring…

“Hi Janet,
We are going the right way. Don’t ever accept anything less than a complete functional examination by a functional optometrist.
Your ardent admirer forever, Floyd the Younger”

His dedication was empowering…

“We cannot, and I will not, let anyone ignore Vision First. It is a wonderful structure to insist on superior vision care for all our children. Janet, I have not been much help to you lately since I’ve been ill, but my spirit has been with you all the way. The work you are doing is much too important for anyone to ignore.
Your ardent admirers, Dorothy and Floyd (the Younger)”

His positive-mental-attitude was motivating…

“Hi Janet,
Do not, and I say again, do not be discouraged. The word is getting out that Illinois is doing something. I am encouraged and I hope you are. You are accomplishing something that was unheard of in the past.
Your ardent admirer, Floyd the Younger”

His willingness to educate was limitless…

“Hi Janet,
Absolutely. Peripheral vision can be enhanced through vision therapy. Parents can assist a child in this area through activities that demand bilateral integration (awareness of the two sides of the body). Balancing activities would go a long way in helping a child increase awareness of peripheral vision. A mini trampoline can be a very helpful tool for expanding peripheral awareness. Constriction of the peripheral fields, both visual and auditory, can create a significant problem in the learning to read process. Constriction of both fields occurs under the stress of learning to read. We could probably write a book on this relationship. Try standing on one foot with eyes fixated on a target. Not too difficult. Now try standing on the other foot with eyes closed. Wow, what a difference. Peripheral awareness is absolutely essential in the learning to read process.

Janet… please do not ask me these questions. They get me all excited because no one is paying any attention to these most significant visual problems of our children.
As always, your most ardent admirer, Floyd the Younger”

His humor was refreshing…

“Hi Janet,
Glad to have helped you. Not only do I repair patios, I also do windows, but don’t tell Dorothy.
Keep up the great work, Floyd the Younger”

He always wanted me to be well informed…

Check out this article. I am thoroughly disgusted. OMDs are now becoming the great saviors of our children. How can the OMD check ocular motor skills when the muscle used for focusing is paralyzed with drugs for dilation? I think our old friend, Floyd the Older, made this prediction a long time ago.
As ever, your upset eternal admirer, Floyd the Younger”

He wasn’t afraid to “tell it like it is.”

“Hi Janet,
Please read the section on pre-school screening! It is disgusting.
Always in admiration of you, Floyd the Younger”

And when the pressure was on during the emergency rulemaking in July ‘08, in spite of his cancer, he kept the pot boiling…

“The Vision First report form, along with the Reference Page, is the most complete and informative communication between disciplines that has ever been produced. The educator can use this information to enhance a student’s learning program. The form being considered by the state provides very little about helping the child. What a waste of valuable information.”
Floyd Woods, One of the Four Horsemen still galloping

He always thought about the children…

The battle is beginning to loom on the horizon. We must be prepared to meet the adverse thinking with facts that are quotable and cannot be denied. Please do not let our detractors influence you. We have the strength of the truth and our opposition must be faced with our ammunition. We are in this battle for our precious children. We cannot fail.
Your ardent admirer, Floyd the Younger”

He was never a pest…

“Hi Janet,
The pest is back again. The evidence grows. I successfully found the original article on the Internet and bought it for twelve bucks. I love the article because it tends to substantiate what we have been saying about hyperopia and how it correlates academic achievement with refractive error. We will prevail! Keep up the great work.
As ever, in your corner, Floyd the Younger”

He was quick to share the success of others…

“Hi Janet,
I feel their page (Wichita Vision Development Center) is an absolute brilliant way to demonstrate to readers how the lack of some of the vision skills influences the reading and learning process.
As always, your most ardent admirer, Floyd the Younger”

He was proud of my work…

“Hi Janet,
As usual, you come up with perfection. You are so astute. Your “Top Ten Reasons” deserves a medal. Go to press. Thank you for all that you do for our children. Your untiring effort will make the world a better place for many years to come.
Forever in your corner, Floyd the Younger”

And not afraid to correct me when I was wrong…

“Hi Janet,
The Optometric Four Horsemen and Calvary needs to be corrected. My Funk & Wagnalls New Comprehensive International Dictionary of the English Language defines “calvary” as a sculptured representation of the crucifixion, usually erected in the open air. On the other hand, the same dictionary says that CAVALRY, among other things, is defined as organized, mounted combat troops. I like to think we are more like the latter rather than the former. Otherwise, in my humble opinion, the work is impeccable and will be very informational for all who visit the Vision First website.
Your most ardent admirer, Floyd the Younger”

He was full of compliments…

“Hi Janet,
I’m impressed. Thank you for your skills at nit-picking. We do not want to be redundant. As a layperson in this field, I think you are the best.”

Four minutes later I received this email:

“I meant I am the layperson judging the expert.
Your ardent admirer, Floyd the Younger”

He always remembered the kids and Mark…

“Hi Janet,
Thank you for the update. I am amazed at your energy. Give all your wonderful kids a big hug and kiss from Dorothy and me, and please don’t forget your very supportive and patient husband, Mark Sr.
Your ardent admirer, Floyd the Younger”

He was a humble man…

“Dear Janet,
Thank you for the great compliment. I do not deserve such praise. My concern is to see all children succeed at their primary job, to learn. I think we can help.
Forever in your debt, Floyd the Younger”

He made me feel appreciated…

“Dear Janet,
You, of course, know that you were sent from heaven to help our children become the best they can be. Your thought on the motto is great. We look to you for leadership in this monumental effort to help our children,
Your totally dazzled admirer, Floyd the Younger

I’m going to miss his classic signature and all its variations…

As always, your ardent admirer,
Your ARDENT admirer,
As ever, your ardent admirer,
Your constant and ardent admirer,
Your constant and eager admirer,
Your steadfast and most loyal admirer,
Your ever lovin’, forever your ardent admirer,
As always, I remain your loyal and ardent admirer,
As always, in absolute awe in your presence,
As always, forever in your debt,
Forever in your debt, you have my complete admiration,
Your ardent admirer and believer that you are Superwoman,
Forever basking in the bright light of Janet Hughes,
Floyd the Younger

I’ll cherish his pearls of wisdom…

“Dear Janet,
When you get down, gather your children around you, give them a hug, and thank God for his blessings. He will give you the strength and courage to continue our journey.
Your ardent admirer forever, Floyd the Younger”

And when he sent me this email last year, little did I know I’d be shedding these same “Tears of a Woman” today…

“Hi Janet,
This little vignette applies to you in every way.
My admiration for you increases every day,
Floyd the Younger”

On behalf of Vision First Foundation, our thoughts and prayers are with Dorothy, all the children and grandchildren, and all his friends and family.

How lucky to have been loved so much, that it is so hard to say, “good-bye.”

Sir Isaac Newton’s quote describes very well the impact Dr. Woods made in my life: “If I have been able to see farther than others, it was because I stood on the shoulders of giants.”

Dr. Woods made a difference in my life. Through Vision First, his legacy will live on forever.

Dr. Woods was, and always will be, my giant.

View a special memory page in honor of Dr. Floyd Woods on the Vision First website here…

View his obituary in the Chicago Tribune here…

Copyright (c) 2008 Vision First Foundation.  All rights reserved.


  1. Dr. Woods was a mentor and leader in the profession of optometry. Instead of relaxing in his retirement years, i.e. fishing, golfing, etc., he continued working for the betterment of optometric patient care.

    Floyd Woods cared for people…from VOSH missions to help people all over the world to his own town of Oak Lawn. He will be missed, but not forgotten.

  2. Janet…thanks for that beautiful display of the magic that was Floyd. You captured his humor and spirit, but also his passion and deep convictions. It’s a lovely tribute.

    We’re going to miss him around the office bursting into song and delighting in embarrassing us each in turn. We loved him. We will miss him greatly. The huge vacuum of his absence is already almost too much to bear.

  3. Today I feel like I lost my right arm, but I know that really is not the case, because the other Floyd is right there by my side as he always has been.

    Dr. Woods helped lay the foundation for whatever positive efforts we bring forth, and every good and new that happens in the vision care world, he would be a part of it.

    We lived by the truth of really caring, that anything short of a person’s 100% visual best, is short-changing the quality of life.

    He always reminded me how he saw double as boy, until a good optometrist found a vertical phoria and corrected him with a three-degree prism to have single vision.

    Among other visual anomalies, he did not want other children to have his problem.

    So do not worry, he is watching.

    The other Floyd in his life,
    Floyd Mizener

  4. Sad to hear the bad news of Dr. Woods. I read your blog; it was very touching to say the least.

    Dr. Woods was quite a person. He was very proud of your amazing efforts and will be with you in spirit as you continue to fight for the children through Vision First Foundation.

    God Bless You,

  5. Now you have another guardian angel looking after your cause.

  6. You have written a beautiful tribute to Dr. Woods.

  7. Dr. Woods has given this world so many gifts…his caring, his energy for others, his jokes, his laughter, his dedication………

    I was privileged to spend two days at the PTA convention with him and several hours in his car with Janet on the trip to and fro. It was not dull. His spirit will keep us going to prevent children from suffering as he did and as my son does.

    Dr. Woods was greatly loved.

  8. Thank you, Janet. You did a beautiful tribute. I could feel your love and admiration for Floyd the younger. I have so much sadness.

  9. Dear Janet and Family and Vision First Foundation,

    I’m so sorry to learn of the loss of a dear friend and supporter as well as a valued member of your Foundation team. This wonderful “angel” has, in every sense of the word, left an indelible mark in sharing his support and expertise to your mission to help children. That was, of course, his mission as well. My deepest sympathy ~

    Bev Ehlers
    Parents Active for Vision Education

  10. Thanks for your tribute, Janet. We will all miss Dr. Woods so much. He will always be one of the titans of our profession not only for his hard work, devotion and passion for optometry, but more importantly for the great care and respect he gave to his many patients.

    My deepest sympathy to the Woods family and their many friends.

    Pamela Lowe, O.D.





  12. Wow Janet. The tribute was beautiful… Exactly what Dr. Woods deserves.

    Words cannot express how grateful I am to have known such a passionate and inspiring person. While we will all miss him very much, it’s comforting to know that he will be watching and guiding us from above.

  13. What a powerful and heartwarming tribute you have written to your friend and mentor, Dr. Woods! It certainly makes anyone who had not known him wish they did.

    Keep up all the wonderful work you are doing for Vision First, Janet. Dr. Woods is still at your side smiling at all your achievements to promote vision examinations for children everywhere!

  14. Floyd Woods was an optometry patriot who stepped into the front lines to protect and advance the profession of optometry against the almost constant barrage of negativism from its detractors.

    He and a small “Band of Brothers,” the Four Horsemen as they became to be known, performed revolutionary tactics to incorporate the practice of optometry integrated with the practice of medicine. As he and they had envisioned, both professions benefitted and indeed continue to benefit.

    Here in southwest Florida, one of the largest ophthalmic surgical and medical practices has no fewer than seven optometric physicians on their staff, residency trained, who practice as physicians – not merely as technicians. They are given equal “billing” with the rest of the medical staff.

    It also took foresight to encourage people like Janet Hughes to champion the “children’s cause” in Illinois which emphasizes the benefits of optometry to the state’s children – not primarily to the profession itself.

    Floyd organized a group of primarily retired optometrists from many states to gather for monthly luncheon meetings in southwest Florida. This serves a threefold purpose: First, it keeps us abreast of the latest happenings in the various states; Second, we can then share our ideas with those still practicing in our home states; and Third, continued fellowship of optometrists who might otherwise drift into obscurity.

    Without Floyd at the helm, our profession would not have been so enjoyed by us all.

    He will certainly become a permanent member of our “Hall of Fame.”

  15. Dear Janet,

    Floyd’s gifts of intellect and kindness were his gifts to share with everyone he touched. His character of integrity, honesty and hard work left the world a far better place.

    Floyd was a part of the “Greatest Generation,” and one the quiet level headed leaders who in humble ways brought humanity to a higher level.

    I am proud to have shared the same profession with a leader who expanded our profession in many areas including co-management of patients and children’s vision.

    My colleagues today need to be aware that the level of care they are privledged to practice was due to the farsightedness and hard work of true professionals like Floyd.

    We feel very blessed to have known Floyd, and although his passing was sad, we should celebrate the fact that we all were so blessed to have shared so many times with a great man and optometrist.

    Leo and Linda Prentice

  16. We have lost a very good friend in Floyd’s passing.

    He has been a strong advocate for optometry and all other things he knew could use his support. Floyd was a leader in many areas of his profession.

    I first became close to Floyd when I was appointed to the State Board of Optometry. He was a leader by being the Board Secretary and proved his leadership when we were asked by the Governor to support his request to sign off on a Bill to reduce the professional boards in Illinois so that he had more control. Our Board unanimously voted against that request. Floyd insisted that he be the only member to sign off on our answer. The next meeting we had, Floyd had been removed from the Board by the Governor. This incident took place in the early 70’s and many more wonderful stories of Floyd could be told for the many years that followed.

    We send our love and condolences to Dorothy,
    Jeannette and Richard “Rich” Stratton

  17. I am the older Floyd, as the younger Floyd Woods kept reminding me. What a sense of humor he had. We all saw it no matter where he was, and yet he was downright serious when he put on his professional hat.

    I met Dr. Floyd Woods in the early 1950’s as Dr. Vogel, Dr. Luckhardt, and I were traveling and promoting, Assistance to Graduates plans. We were determined that none of our colleagues should have to practice in what we referred to as commercialism. Our goal was to help our colleagues in whatever way we could to be in private practice.

    Dr. Floyd Woods immediatly got excited and jumped in with both feet. Many of the optometrists saw this co-operation of helping each other and many practices were going from solo to associatships and partnerships, including our own. Dr. Woods was always wanting to talk about this new direction of caring professionalism.

    We put so much working pressure on Dr. Floyd W. that in order to keep up with what we asked of him and what he faced with the schools, teachers, and administrators, he went and got a masters in education degree. Now he felt prepared to face any issue, with his other goal, to help children vision. He became or expert in these matters.

    With Dr. Albert Bucar, our new president from Illinois for the American Optometric Association, our other colleague in our scheme of things, a new idea was born,relative to working together, with medical eye care providers in a co-managed way.

    It only took seconds for Dr. Woods to get ahold of this idea and he called his band of friends together. The next thing you know there was the first optometric co-management center in Illinois called the Midwest Eye Practioners or MEP.

    Because of Floyd W., his love for children, and his dedication to COVD, College of Optometrists in Visual Development, he was so proud to play a roll with Mrs. Janet Hughes, her husband, Mark, her children, and Janet’s army to promote a bill and march in Springfield to pass Amy’s Law and the kindergarten law for children to be the best they can be in vision with comprehensive vision examinations instead of failed vision screenings.

    Never finished, he then helped develop the Vision First Foundation and became an officer.

    You say you miss him, that is in spades for us!

    We know he’s up in Heaven waiting for Dorothy to go on another Vosh trip.

    Dr. Floyd W. Woods…I wonder what you are dreaming up for us now, my great friend?

    The other Floyd,

  18. For one who has written professionally most of my life, I find it unusually difficult to find the proper words to express my inner feelings about the passing of one great human being…a person who was a credit to his family, to his country, to his profession, to society.

    I keep thinking of a poem I learned 50 years ago that expresses better than I ever could my feelings about Floyd. It went something like this:

    Let the thousand trumpets blare,

    Let the music surge and flair,

    I would hear no song if Floyd paused from playing.

    Let the words and music cease,

    Let no sound from any piece,

    I would delight in song if Floyd continued playing.

    Floyd Woods may not have played a musical instrument but he did make music in so many other ways. And he made a really substantial difference in the lives of so very many.

    He truly – very honestly – will be sorely missed.

    Irving Bennett

  19. Dr. Woods was one the most helpful optometrists in our field.

    As a young O.D. right out of school, he took time to guide me in my private practice. When I met Dr. Woods for the first time, it was as if we had been friends for years. He always had a smile; he truly loved his profession.

    I owe Dr. Woods many thanks for his kindness. He was a leader in many ways and because of him, I am a better person and optometrist. God Bless Dr. Woods. He will sorely be missed.

  20. […] honorary board member of Vision First and one of the primary authors of the Vision First form with Dr. Woods and Dr. Mizener. He quickly became one of my giants on this vision mission…smart, sharp, and […]

  21. Dr. Woods will forever hold a most special place in our family, for all he did to mentor my dear sister, Dr. Sandy Bury, through optometry school and the hard knocks of running a successful practice. He inspired her, bringing vision care to those in need here and across the globe, and in doing so, she has gone on to do much good in this world…

    God bless Floyd Woods…

  22. […] We will miss you, Dr. Woods   August 25, 2008 This was the hardest post for me to write. Our dear friend and loyal supporter passed away peacefully in his sleep after a long battle with cancer during the morning of August 25, 2008.  Floyd Woods is deeply missed. Janet’s Journal had the most hits for two days straight thanks to all who loved Dr. Woods so much. […]

  23. […] We will miss you, Dr. Woods August 25, 2008 This was the hardest post for me to write. Our dear friend and loyal supporter passed away peacefully in his sleep after a long battle with cancer during the morning of August 25, 2008. Dr. Floyd Woods was one of the primary authors of the Vision First form with Dr. Floyd Mizener, Dr. Irving Kernis, and me. […]

  24. […] report form for only eye exams over six years ago, I created one with Dr. Kernis, Dr. Mizener, and Dr. Woods. A form with meaning and purpose was our goal.  Download The Most Important School Supply here. […]

  25. […] We will miss you, Dr. Woods August 25, 2008 This was the hardest post for me to write. Our dear friend and loyal supporter passed away peacefully in his sleep after a long battle with cancer during the morning of August 25, 2008. Dr. Floyd Woods was one of the primary authors of the Vision First form with Dr. Floyd Mizener, Dr. Irving Kernis, and me. […]

  26. […] Illinois PTA’s annual convention was first in 2004. Together with the late Dr. Floyd Woods, we persuaded the delegates to support the resolution, “Required Vision Exam Before Entering Kindergarten.” It was a tremendous experience! Read more about our dear friend Dr. Woods here… […]

  27. […] Mizener also led me to his great friends Dr. Larry Vogel, the late Dr. Floyd Woods, and the late Dr. Irving […]

  28. Your style is unique in comparison to other folks I’ve read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this blog.

  29. Dr. Woods was my family’s optometrist and neighbor for many years, He truly was a great man.
    J. Staberow

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