Ivory Meadows Woods was born to the late Luellen Meadows Sr. and Dorothy Inez Long Meadows on December 2, 1942, in the Collegeville area of Birmingham, Alabama. She was the second of their eight children. The Lord called Ivory home on Monday, April 23, 2018.
Ivory attended Hudson Elementary School, and A.H. Parker High School in Birmingham, graduating in 1960. She then attended Alabama A&M University, Huntsville, AL, graduating in 1964, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Secondary Education-English/History. She later earned a Master of Education degree in Rehabilitation at Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts, in 1976. She was also accepted for admission in the doctoral program, Brandeis University- The Heller Graduate School for Advanced Studies in Social Welfare, and Recommended as a Fellowship candidate, Community Fellows Program, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Cambridge, Massachusetts.
After completing her education at Alabama A&M, her first jobs were as an English teacher at Ullman High School in Birmingham and Council Training High School in Huntsville. She then moved to Boston, Massachusetts, to work as a “domestic.” She met and married Sim Woods, and they began a journey together, lasting 54 years. During that time, their daughter, Kim, was born.
In Ivory’s own words, her formative years were during “a very turbulent time in America and specifically in Birmingham, where our normal, daily environment was characterized by Ku Klux Klan actions including cross burnings, and neighborhood bombings. My parents and all of my siblings participated actively with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Reverend Ralph Abernathy, Andrew Young and Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, in the Civil Rights Movement.” And she would say “we were poor, but godly values and education formed our values.”
She “experienced God’s movement, His help, guidance and His divine intervention in all areas” of her life. A lifelong learner, always with a drive to succeed, her early career included positions at Boston School Department (Hyde Park and Dorchester High), City of Boston Minority Business Office - Office of the Mayor, New England Telephone, United States Postal, and the Institution for the Blind and Deaf.
She held many and varied leadership positions that impacted her local community, and state and local governments. These positions included Director of Boston Model City Agency; Senior Planner/Director of Mental Health for the Massachusetts Department of Health; Acting Director of Lena Park Community Development Corporation; Equal Opportunity Specialist for the Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare; Program Specialist for the U.S Department of Health and Human Services/Office of Human Development, Administration on Developmental Disabilities (Massachusetts and Washington, D.C.); Program Specialist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Program; and Supervisor and Senior Passport Adjudicator/Specialist for the U.S. Department of State, Passport Services (Boston MA , Charleston, SC).
She led by example, always reaching back to help others up. And while she encouraged others to reach their potential, her own accomplishments, commitment to excellence, and dedication to a job well-done were recognized throughout her career. Her honors include Alabama A&M’s Class of 1964 Achievement Award, Massachusetts State Senate and “Senator’s Citation” in Recognition of Distinguished and Devoted Community Work; Outstanding Young Woman of America, Washington, DC; Service Award for Volunteer Services in Community Human Relations of the National Conference of Christians and Jews; Certificate of Merit for Devoted Volunteer Services, Massachusetts Department of Mental Health; U. S. State Department Franklin Award for Outstanding Achievement, and a U.S. Diplomatic Security Service Award for Fraud Detection.
Ivory was a faithful servant of the Lord, and she dedicated much of her adult life to work in the Church community. Her home church was Twelfth Baptist Church, Boston, MA, where she was a member of the Women’s Fellowship, Young Adult Ministry, and Girl Scout Leader. Also in Boston, at Morningstar Baptist Church, she chaired the Capital Stewardship Program, Building Committee, Trustee Board, and Chaired the Board of Christian Education, and at Southern Baptist Church, she served on the Trustee Board, was the Director of Vacation Bible School, and taught Sunday School. In Charleston, SC, she was an active member of Saint Matthew Baptist Church, where she was Vacation Bible School Director, chaired Missionary boards, taught Teen and Women’s Sunday School, developed a tutorial program for students, and other activities. Upon returning to her hometown of Birmingham, she joined First Missionary Baptist Church in Moody, where she was a beloved and active member. Her service include teaching the Adult Women Sunday School class, active on the Education/Scholarship Ministry, College Outreach, and Chair of the Audit Committee.
Those who preceded her in death: Her father, Luellen Meadows Sr. and her sister, Martha Louise McKinstry.
Ivory leaves to cherish her memory: Husband, Sim; daughter Kim Dickerson (Harold) of Peoria, IL; one granddaughter, Alexandra Dickerson; her mother: Dorothy Inez Meadows; four sisters: Shirley Butler (Walter), Sandra Smith (William), Carolyn Miller (Curtis) and Cynthia Fountain; two brothers: Luellen Meadows Jr. (Regina) and Vernon Meadows (Denise); ten nieces, two nephews; and a host of aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.