Dr. William (Bill) Woods

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  • "Sorry to hear the loss of Bill. With heartfelt Sympathy to..."
  • "Bill mentored me as an 'adult' returning to college, and..."
    - Kerry Doyle
  • "Our hearts go our to the Woods' family. We are so very..."
    - David and Kay Werner
  • "Bill was a wonderful colleague at SIUe. We often shared..."
    - Carole Collier Frick
  • "This sad news. Rest in peace, Bill. You were a fine..."
    - Richard Brugam
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Dr. William (Bill) Woods

Bill was born to Phyllis and Donald Woods in Milwaukee Wisconsin. In 1965, he graduated from Whitefish Bay High School, Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin. Bill received his Master's and Doctorate in Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1973 and 1986, respectively. Bill spent most of his career at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) as a professor in the Department of Geography and as Director of the Contract Archaeology Program. During his tenure at SIUE, he directed the study of Monks Mound, one of the major earthworks at the UNESCO World Heritage Cahokia Mounds Site. Bill was a Guest Professor at various Universities in Italy, Germany, Costa Rica, Poland, Belgium, Brazil, and the Netherlands.

Bill's main research interests were Abandoned Settlements, Soils and Sediments, and Anthropogenic Environmental Change. Beginning in his days as a student, and continuing through his academic career, Bill directed archaeological and geological investigations in the United States, Mesoamerica, South America, and Europe, serving as principal investigator on more than 110 projects. Much of his published work focuses on anthropogenic soils in Belgium and Amazonia, especially terra preta, the dark earth created by pre-Columbian Indians between 450 BC and 950 AD. During his career, Bill received many awards and distinctions, including the Association of American Geographers' Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group's 2006 Robert Netting Award, and the Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers' 2006 Carl O. Sauer Distinguished Scholar Award. In 2013, he received one of the Geological Society of America's most prestigious awards: the Rip Rapp Award for outstanding contributions to the interdisciplinary field of archaeological geology. Also, in 2012 Bill was awarded an honorary Ph.D. from University of Uppsala, Sweden.

The last part of Bill's career was spent at The University of Kansas (KU), where he served as Director of the Environmental Studies Program from 2005 to 2008. Also, from 2005 to 2014, he was Professor in the KU Department of Geography. He retired in 2014 as Professor Emeritus.

Bill is survived by his wife Deanna, son Colin, daughter-in-law Maggie, daughter Gillian Bauer, son-in-law Mark, former wife Sandi, grandchildren Addi, Ellie, August, and Gabby, sister Mary McGovern, and brother-in-law Pat.

Private internment. Memorials preferred to the Wounded Warrior Project.

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Published in Lawrence Journal-World on Sept. 23, 2015
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