"She will be remembered most as a loving mother and grandmother, but we are also incredibly proud of her life devoted to public service and her passionate and determined efforts to aid society's most vulnerable — the elderly, minorities and the homeless — to obtain equal opportunities for women ... and mentor future generations of leaders.
While undergoing cancer treatment, Mrs. Woods traveled to Washington last month to witness the swearing-in of Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and the first female speaker of the U.S. House, Nancy Pelosi.
"It was a bittersweet, triumphal visit for her,'' said close friend Betty Van Uum, the first woman elected to the St. Louis County Council and one of many political activists who saw Mrs. Woods as a trailblazer.
Said McCaskill: "She never completely understood the impact she had on all the women who have struggled to follow her example. I can't really express how much we will miss her."