Interview with Woody Hancock Jan 16, 2012
Marcia: Is Woody your real name?
Woody: Officially, I am Woodrow Wilson Hancock, Jr. Obviously, my Dad’s father was an admirer of President Wilson!
Marcia: Where were you born?
Woody: I was born in Camden, South Carolina, but grew up in Maryland. I was the first of four boys. My Dad’s family were sharecroppers on a cotton farm. He knew how to work hard. He dropped out of school in the 6th grade to help support his family. He learned to lay bricks with my Mom’s dad in South Carolina and also worked in a local general store. These skills served him well later in life. During WWII, he worked as an airplane machinist in Oklahoma. After the war, he ran a small store in Maryland and later went back to bricklaying and put 4 boys through college on a bricklayer’s salary. He and my mother never had any debt, not even a mortgage! He was a good judge of character, things were black or white, and his word was his bond. You know, old school. Of course, my mom didn’t work outside the home, but she did volunteer at the local hospital-for 40 years! She was a real Christian who lived the Golden Rule. However, I did observe how she always somehow managed to get her way…without confrontation. A lesson in itself!
Marcia: What would you do for fun back then?
Woody: We had a happy small town childhood-playing in the woods, all sports, and Sunday picnics. Both of my parents were from large families in South Carolina, so we had a lot of cousins to visit. We would go to Myrtle Beach for vacation and twice a year we would visit with my Mom’s family in North Carolina to the church revivals!
Marcia: Did your Dad’s work ethic rub off on you?
Woody: I think so. In high school, I worked with my dad part time, but my first real job was clerking at the local Safeway. I played all the sports (not very well) and was president of the Key club. I remember one summer Washington D.C. day I was working with my dad helping to build a brick wall and it was hot and I was sweaty. My dad looked down at me, covered with sweat and dirt, in the ditch and said “Son, you sure you don’t want to go to college?”
Marcia: So, you did, right?
Woody: I switched to college prep the next semester! I graduated from the University of Maryland with a major in accounting. I loved participating college activities including inter-mural sports. I joined a fraternity and was very active in student politics. I was actually on the student court, Treasurer of the SGA, and president of my senior class. I realized that I enjoyed people and being part of the campus life. Also my extra curricular activities helped me get my first job at Price Waterhouse & Co.
Marcia: Did you meet your wife in college?
Woody: No we met in High School. Barb was a cheerleader and very athletic and into sports. I watched her from the bench. We got married just before my senior year in college, 49 years ago, and she continues to take me out of my comfort zone.
Marcia: So how has she pushed you, Woody?
Woody: Well, we have recently become avid bike riders. Just before I turned 65, I signed up for the Triple By Pass bike ride. Barb trained with me and we both enjoyed the activity. We’ve been biking in France, Austria, Germany, and Switzerland many times! We have done a bunch of century (100 mile) bike rides and Ride the Rockies three times. Early on, we both played competitive volleyball and tennis. For a while, we were really into competitive horseback riding and owned a small farm where we raised (unfortunately slow) race horses. I was even the president of the local Fox Hunting Club! We now play golf and I have played in Scotland and Ireland. This year, I am going to play in Ireland and then Barb is coming over and we will do a three week bike ride in NW Ireland with another couple.
Marcia: What kind of career have you had that allowed you to follow all these adventures?
Woody: After college, I interned at Price Waterhouse as an auditor and stayed with them for three years earning my CPA certificate. Then, I became a salesman with IBM (when they called it data processing), and spent the rest of my corporate career in sales, and sales and leasing management positions. I preferred sales to auditing-can you imagine that? Barb and I moved to Evergreen in 1995 and in 2001 I was doing some consulting in Oklahoma and decided I had to find something that allowed me to live and work in Evergreen. I discovered that the H&R Block Franchise in Evergreen was for sale and I bought it. Probably the best business decision I ever made. Later, I opened offices in Idaho Springs and Conifer. I discovered that being a tax preparer combined two things I love, working with people and knowing their business.
Marcia: Did you have time to raise a family too?
Woody: Yes. We have two adult sons. Matthew works for the border patrol as a construction manager in Dallas and Brice is a musician with an IT degree who now owns a music venue in Littleton-The Toad Tavern. We also are blessed with our first grandson-Trace.
Marcia: So, how did you get involved in Rotary?
Woody: I wanted to get more involved in the community so I asked Chick to take me to his Rotary club. Everybody was so charged up at that first meeting that I attended. I knew I wanted to be a part of this group.
Marcia: What would you say keeps you in Evergreen Rotary?
Woody: There are so many incredible people in this club that do so much for the community and the world. I like being part of the Sergeant of Arms. I am not really a “save the world” kind of guy but really want to help out in my community. I enjoy spreading the word and telling people about Rotary.
Marcia: Surely you have some words of wisdom?
Woody: I spend a lot of my time at Block giving advice to my clients. Most of it is life’s lessons learned. It’s probably a miracle they still come back! I would probably go back to the Golden Rule as my guiding principle.
Marcia: If you were a pair of shoes, what would you be?
Woody: They would be well worn because they would have been a lot of places and done a lot of things- Clean but not too shiny!