Cecil William "Bill" Moody
July 21, 1930 – August 12, 2019
Cecil William “Bill” Moody, 89, of Pike Road, AL died Monday, Aug. 12, 2019, at Capitol Hill Health Care Center in Montgomery following a battle with cancer.
He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Mary; sons Kevin (Sheila) and Mike (Karen); grandchildren Miles (Meredith) Pepping, Emma, Michael (Erin) and Cole; and brother Clark. He was preceded in death by a son, Ken, his parents and four siblings.
While Bill accomplished many things in his professional life, the most important role he played was as husband, father, and granddaddy. He greatly loved his family and always put their needs above his own. He tried to solve any problem. He was a great listener. He loved his grandchildren immensely. Bill attended every ball game, performance or show that involved one of his grandkids. Kind. Generous. Selfless. Honorable. Christian example. Dedicated. Loyal. This was Bill Moody.
Bill was born July 21, 1930, in Bainbridge, Georgia, to James Thaddeus and Mary (Johnson) Moody. His siblings were Ernie, Joann, Montrose, Clark and Jean.
In his early years, Bill learned the value of hard work. His father was a tobacco farmer and gospel preacher in Quincy, Florida. Alongside his siblings, many days were spent in the fields helping the sharecroppers who lived on the Moody property plant and harvest. His father helped build the Quincy church of Christ where Bill attended during his youth. He also learned lessons about the importance of family, faith and compassion from his loving mother, who was a housewife.
After high school, Bill enlisted in the Air Force where he rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant in communications and was stationed on the island of Guam during the Korean War. His most memorable story from the island was the time he killed a rat with his .45 that was so large it broke into his barracks and turned over several beds.
After being honorably discharged in 1952, Bill came home to pursue a career in dentistry. His love of the outdoors called him to change his major to Forestry. Bill became a member of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society and completed a bachelor of science degree in Forestry in 1956 at the University of Florida. His career in forestry would shape his future, the future of an entire state and, in some ways, the country.
While attending college, Bill eloped with Mary Elizabeth Mikell, who was a nurse. They married Oct. 31, 1953, in Tallahassee, Florida. At the time, they did not realize it was Halloween. When they informed Mary’s parents of the news the following Sunday, Mary’s mother fainted in the church parking lot.
Mary’s brother, Harold Mikell, was named State Forester in Florida so Bill, realizing his goal of running the state agency would not happen in Florida, applied for the same job in Alabama. To the benefit of the forests and citizens of Alabama, he got the job.
In 1970, he moved his wife and three sons to Montgomery and, at the age of 40, became the youngest State Forester in the country. The state of the forests and the Alabama Forestry Commission were not good. His first act as State Forester was to visit every office in all 67 counties and speak to every employee about where the commission stood and where it needed to go. Through his leadership, the commission grew to over 300 employees and became a model for other states in fire prevention and forest management.
Seeing the need to educate Alabama landowners on sustainable forest management, Bill organized the Alabama Forestry Planning Committee in 1972. The result of this committee created a program that would become the model for a national program of forest management.
The TREASURE Forest Program was born. Timber, Recreation, Environment, Aesthetics, for a Sustained Usable REsource or TREASURE is a program that helps educate landowners on how to meet their family’s needs while maintaining the health and sustainability of forests for future generations. Landowners must be certified with a true management plan before their forest lands are given the name TREASURE Forest. The success of this program went far beyond the borders of Alabama.
Bill was called to the United States Congress to testify in committee about the program. Through his inspiration, the American Forest Foundation created the National Tree Farm Program, which is active throughout the U.S. today.
As his career progressed, so did the honors. In 1976, Bill became President of the National Association of State Foresters and later became the Legislative Chairman of the national organization from 1977 to 1979.
Throughout his post as State Forester, Bill entertained guests from around the country. During one tour of the state, he noticed the amount of trash along the roadside. While most people would look at this and bemoan a failing society, Bill saw it as an opportunity to make the state better. In 1986, Bill gathered 38 like-minded individuals and created a new program to address litter in the state. People Against a Littered State (PALS) was formed. This voluntary program grew to include cleanups in all 67 Alabama counties.
Through PALS’ efforts such as Adopt-A-Mile, Adopt-A-Stream, “Don’t Drop It On Alabama” Annual Spring Cleanup, Coastal Cleanup and Clean Campus program, awareness to the litter problem in Alabama increased and great improvements were made. Bill further led successful efforts to strengthen Alabama’s anti-litter laws through the Alabama Legislature, which stiffened penalties for litter violators.
Fighting wildfires takes teamwork. Bill recognized this and created the Alabama Rural Community Fire Protection Institute to build relationships between the Alabama Forestry Commission and, at the time, 30,000 volunteer firefighters.
His desire to serve also led him to Faulkner University, a Christian university in Montgomery. He served on the board of trustees for several years and helped shape the future of Faulkner. The Christian university has continued to grow and thrive.
Just a few of the many awards and honors Bill received include the 1991 Lifetime Director award from the Alabama TREASURE Forest Association, the 1991 Extraordinary Merit Award from PALS, a 1993 resolution of commendation from the Alabama House of Representatives, the 1994 Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of State Foresters, the 1998 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year Award from the University of Florida, a 2013 resolution of commendation from Alabama’s Governor, and too many more to name. He also has an award named after him. The Bill Moody Award, presented annually by the Alabama TREASURE Forest Landowner’s Association, is given to the TREASURE forest owner who exemplifies the spirit of sustainability and usability Moody instilled in the program.
After 34 years in state service, Bill retired as State Forester, but he did not retire from his desire to help others.
In 1996, Bill became concerned with the encroachment of private property rights on citizens by the government in the name of conservation. He formed Stewards of Family Farms, Ranches and Forests (STEWARDS). STEWARDS’ mission was to bolster legislation that would protect the constitutional rights of citizens to own land without the fear of having that land taken by the government unfairly.
His leadership skills were also beneficial in his Christian walk. As a member of the Dalraida church of Christ since 1970, Bill was a regular Bible teacher and often developed series of lessons to edify those who attended. As an Elder in the church, he helped create outreach and in-reach programs that are still active today. As a Christian parent, Bill saw the need for young parents to be educated on how to raise Godly children. This inspired him to get a degree in Counseling. He earned a master’s degree from Troy University at Montgomery in Counseling and formed Christian Family Development Ministries.
Bill Moody led an exemplary life in service to others. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends, previous employees and professional acquaintances. While his past has been evident of a servant’s heart, his future is secure with his heavenly father.
- Mary Moody, Spouse
- Kevin Moody (Sheila), Son
- Mike Moody (Karen), Son
- Miles Pepping (Meredith), Grandchild
- Emma Moody, Grandchild
- Michael Moody (Erin), Grandchild
- Cole Moody, Grandchild
- Michael Moody, Pallbearer
- Cole Moody, Pallbearer
- Carmel Weed, Pallbearer
- Griffin Weed, Pallbearer
- Spenser Ryan, Pallbearer
- Dean Sanders, Pallbearer
- Wayne Hatcher, Honorary Pallbearer
- Don Musgrave, Honourary Pallbearer
- Jim Russell , Honourary Pallbearer
- Visitation Friday, August 16, 2019
- Funeral Service Friday, August 16, 2019
Cecil William "Bill" Moody
August 16, 2019
Bill and Mary moved to Union Springs, AL, I believe in 1956. My wife and I were going to the town with a business man to preach for the church of Christ. We were expecting our first child. I did not have insurance, nor was I able to pay for the birth of the child. Bill and Mary gave us $50.00 to help with the expense. This kind deed, we have never forgotten! Since 1956, though often separated by miles, our friendship with Bill and Mary, has only grown, especially as brothers and sisters in Christ. Our prayer is that God will grant Mary and the family comfort and strength in their time of loss. Revelation 14:13. Our love, Raymond and Virginia
August 15, 2019
I loved this great Christian man of God
August 14, 2019
My prayers go out to the Moody family. Mr. Bill was an inspiration to many and always a welcoming face at church. Love you all.
August 14, 2019
Bill Moody was dedicated to the Alabama Forestry Commission and held very high standards for direction and performance. He was all business. He was always eager to know what was going on in forestry, from top to bottom, and wanted to apply himself and the organization in the most economical fashion to promoting the best in forestry for the state and the country. He strived tirelessly to "make it better through forestry", even to the detriment of his own health. He was respected and admired by forestry individuals, companies and government constituents. He always had a place at the table to move things ahead and was a force to be dealt with because of his strong drive to make it better.
I always admired and felt pushed by Mr. Moody. He was a man of great statue and courage. He has already been missed. We miss you still, Bill Moody.
August 13, 2019
Mr. Moody hired me a little over 33 years ago I'm still with the Alabama Forestry Commission. He was one of the most loved and respected men that I know. So many people have told me that he had such an influence on their lives. He was one of the greatest leaders and motivators that I have ever known. We all drank the Bill Moody Kool-aid and stuck our cup out for some more.
Under his leadership, the Alabama Forestry Commission made gigantic steps in forestry, not on just the state level but in the national arena as well, through programs like the TREASURE Forest Program (the model for the National Stewardship Forest Program,) I had the honor of being nearby when he envisioned Alabama PALS. (And they are still active,)
He didn't just come up with the ideas, but he came up with ideas that were so thought out and soundly grounded that they are still viable 30 years later, and they will continue to endure. Under his leadership we were cocky and arrogant, because every time he saw us he told us that we were the best state forestry agency in the nation and we believed him!!!
He was loved so much by so many people and will be missed. But he will continue to be as large as life as long as there is a single one of us left that worked for him, because he is instilled in the the hearts and minds of all of us who were fortunate enough to have known him.
I am so sorry for your loss and pray that our loving God; the Great Comforter, will embrace you and give you peace and comfort.
Coleen Vansant, the Alabama Forestry Commission since April 1986.