Dr. James Alexander "Jimmy" "Sonny" Hood was born to Octavie and Margaret Hughs Hood on Nov. 10, 1942, in Gadsden, Ala.
He united with the Sweet Home United Methodist Church at an early age and was educated in the Gadsden Public School System, graduating from Carver High School Class of 1961. He attended Clark College in Atlanta, Ga., where he pledged Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, in 1961 until he enrolled at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa. Alongside Vivian Malone Jones, James went on to become one of the first African-Americans to integrate the university. Hood remained at the university for only a few months, then withdrew and moved to Michigan. He received a bachelor's degree from Wayne State University and a master's degree from Michigan State University in Criminal Justice in 1972. He studied at the University of London for a period of time. He never stopped furthering his education and, in 1995, returned to the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa to complete his Doctorate in Philosophy in 1997.
While in Detroit, Mich., "Jimmy" worked for Ford Motor Co. and the City of Detroit as the deputy police chief. He pastored Boulevard Temple Methodist Episcopal Church for several years. He later worked at the Madison Area Technical College for 26 years, retiring in 2002 as chairman of public safety services in charge of police and fire training.
"Sonny" later moved to Wisconsin, where he was active in the Fraternal Order of Freemasonry and The Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine.
Dr. Hood defined the concept of "servant leadership" - he always placed the welfare of others first and endeavored the upgrading of humankind and improving the quality of life for everyone. Asked how he'd like to be remembered, Hood said, "... As one who stepped through the world, trying to make it better, that's all. I just did what I thought was right."
He received his Master's calling on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013. He now joins in eternal glory, his parents, Octavie and Margaret Hood; and brothers, Joseph and Laymon Hood.
He leaves to cherish his memories five children, Darrell Hood, Atlanta, Ga., Anthony (LaKeisha) Hood, Marvis (Tameka) Hood, both of Detroit, Mich., Mary Hood, Sun Prairie, Wisc., and Jacquelyn (Brian) Hood-Duncan, Prairie du Sac, Wisc.; nine grandchildren who will grow up being taught their grandfather's legacy, Kerri, Ayanna, Imani, Marvis Jr., Ayden, Roman, Levi, Griffin and Cayson; two brothers, Eddie (Elnora) Hood, Rome, Ga., Arthur (Verlinda) Hood, Rainbow City, Ala.; three sisters, Brenda (Benjamin) Marshall, Ramona (Larry) Thomas, both of Gadsden, Ala., and Patricia (Steven) Tuck, Jonesboro, Ga.; sister-in-law, Derenda Hood, Detroit, Mich.; aunt, Louise Hughs, Detroit, Mich.; longtime friends, Norma Jean, Mary, Alda, Louvenia; a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
Homegoing Celebration will be held 11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, at First United Methodist Church, Gadsden, Rev. Harvey Beck, pastor, Rev. Dedric Cowser, officiating; burial in Pleasant Gap Cemetery, Cherokee County, Ala.
Visitation with the family will be from 6 to 8 this evening at Sweet Home United Methodist Church.
Signature Service by Adams-Buggs Funeral Service: "Competent Service You Have Come To Know And Trust."
Published in The Gadsden Times on Jan. 23, 2013