Aug. 01--CORSICANA -- Jim Wood took a trip down memory lane Monday afternoon, making a stop at every location where he officed for 40 years.
You know the sign -- Jim Wood State Farm Insurance.
Wood, a co-captain of the Tigers 1963 state championship team, worked his final day for State Farm on Tuesday. His A-framed office, with the window facing Main Street, was cleared out. His desk, computer and all kinds of memorabilia, which include keepsakes from his high school playing day for the Tigers and his college years at SMU which included a trip to the Cotton Bowl game on New Year's Day.
As Wood visited the different spots where he started his business at the heeding of Bill Maupin, he waxed nostalgic about a successful career that had nothing to do with his degree in Meteorology from Texas A&M University.
"I'll miss almost everything about the job," Wood said. "I had a real good time."
Wood leaves with more than 2,000 clients -- an astounding number in a town of 23,770.
Pretty good for a former Army Captain who started off in sales in the mobile home business for Maupin in January 1971, and figured out he might be OK at being a sales person.
"It is not a surprise he's been so successful," said Don Denbow, Wood's teammate on the '63 championship team. "He has such a positive approach to the every day activities in his office. He empathizes with customers so well that they feel like they're apart of the family."
Wood started out with State Farm on Dec. 1, 1972 with no money, Wood said. He and his wife Amelia lived with his parents -- Wood's father was a long time minister at Westminster Presbyterian Church.
Wood fittingly officed out of an A-Frame house on Bowie drive, beginning in the back of the phone directory and cold calling potential clients.
He moved to an office in the arts district on Sixth Avenue, then to a duplex over by First United Methodist Church. He shared a desk with Janice Meador. Listening to her work in the real estate business taught him how to sell.
"That's when I realized I was good at alliances," Wood said.
Wood finally settled in at the corner of Main Street and Second Avenue in 1978, in a charming building that stuck out because it looked different. His towering Jim Wood State Farm Insurance sign set down its roots too. He bought the building in '83.
The rest is history.
He loved the job -- he's lived what he calls a serendipity life that began with his family moving to Corsicana when he was midway through the fifth grade, winning the state title to getting a scholarship to SMU where he played on a Southwest Conference championship team and went on a very important blind date on April 4, 1965 with his future bride Amelia.
"The best best day of my life," Wood said.
Then came marriage. "It took him long enough," Amelia said. "Five years."
And ultimately finding his career in the insurance business.
"Blind luck I guess," Wood said.
He figured out only one way to do business with his clients. It's a message that still resonates today, Wood said.
"Being honest and always trying to do the right thing," he said. "And don't think it's going to be easy, because it's not."
He has fond memories of the building he just sold to Keller Williams Realtors (which is currently under renovation and expansion).
Wood would take his son Bill to Roy's Cafe for breakfast, then to school and then come into work. His daughter Lora would pay visits. All were there Tuesday when the final few things were taken out of the office -- the insurance business runs in the family; Bill and his wife Robin have a State Farm office in Waco.
Wood has an action-packed schedule ahead of him.
"He'll find something that will keep him and Amelia busy," Denbow said.
Wood will be active in his church, the YMCA and the Humane Society. He may try to land a few parts in plays at The Warehouse. He'll spend time with his grandchildren.
He and Amelia and friends will go to Alaska later this summer for a bus and train tour. To a wedding in Baton Rouge. To Ruidosa, N.M.
He has a trip scheduled in September to Boone, N.C. to watch Appalachian State play football -- one of his coaches on the state championship team, Jerry Moore, is the head coach of the Mountaineers, one of the country's top teams in their division (FCS/I-AA).
Lora and her husband John Paul Plemons is due to give birth to a baby girl on Oct. 11.
"Then it's hunting season," Wood said.
(c)2012 the Corsicana Daily Sun (Corsicana, Texas)
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