BRIGHTON — To his family, David “Woody” Woodson was a family man, the life of the party and the one everyone could depend on.
Though Woodson had no children of his own, his sister, Jacqueline Moss, said he raised two of his nieces from the time they were young into their adult lives and was known to them as “dad.”
“He loved to fish, hunt, video games, raise prairie dogs, dance and have a good time,” she said. Moss said her brother was a hard worker who held many jobs in the construction industry and spent any time he was not working outdoors. “He was very comical. He loved to joke around and share his laughter with everybody.”
On Saturday, June 29, Woodson was reported missing after disappearing at approximately 6:50 p.m. after being last seen kayaking in the Skunk River near 3180 Highway 1 in Brighton. After a three-day search, the Washington County Sheriff’s office confirmed his body was recovered at 4:39 p.m.
Rusty Woodson, his estranged wife, said Woodson was an avid outdoorsman who loved his family and spent his free time making people laugh and have fun.
“He loved being outside. No matter what it was, he had to be outside. If it was working on cars or doing construction work, he loved being outside,” she said. “He wasn’t meant to be in the house. It wasn’t his thing.”
Amanda Pickering, of Brighton, was one of the nieces Woodson helped raise.
“He did a lot of stuff with us girls. He also made sure we had Christmas and if my mom needed money, he gave it to her,” she said. “He was our supporter. He was everything to us.”
Pickering recalled Woodson was the guy everyone counted on and the one the family leaned on during the tough times.
“He would give his shirt off his back to anybody,” she said. “He was really good. If you needed somebody to talk to, he was right there.”
John Triska, the son of Woodson’s girlfriend, also referred to Woodson as “dad” and said he will cherish memories of fishing, camping, hiking and playing video games together.
“He loved my mom a lot. He was fun to hang around,” he said. “Me and him went places and we fished together, camped together. I really loved him.”
Woodson was a triplet and one of 11 children. He is preceded in death by one of the triplets, two additional siblings and both of his parents.
Moss, who lives in Salem, Mo., said the last time she saw her brother in person was at a family reunion last year but the two stayed in touch through social media.
“He’s got a big heart. He was the rock for a lot of us,” she said, explaining their mother just passed away three years ago and Woodson is whom she leaned on to keep her spirits up through it all.
“I just want to put out there how much we love him and he’s going to be missed,” she said through tears.
After the loss of Woodson, there are only seven siblings left. “We have to hold together.”
Moss said a private funeral service will follow on Sunday, July 7, and that Woodson will be cremated and buried next to his sister, one of the triplets, in Missouri.