BOBBY WOODS had a reputation among fellow musicians for never hitting a wrong note on his bass guitar.
The accomplishment was all the more remarkable because Bobby was basically self-taught.
And whether it was his expertise on his instrument or his fellow musicians, some of the groups he played with in and around the city packed in the crowds that often stood in long lines to get into the clubs where he performed.
Robert M. Woods, who supplemented his income from music with jobs at area car agencies where he was a prized employee, died of a heart attack Dec. 8. He was 59 and lived in Abington.
He was one of the original members of The Hooters, a popular Philly-based rock band in the '80s. He left the group before it gained fame through performances and recordings because of differences with the leadership.
Interspersed with his music career was his employment by various car dealerships in the region, usually as a parts manager, inventory clerk or deliveryman.
His last job was with J.L. Freed, a Honda dealer in Lansdale. He was thought of so highly by management that he won the President's Award two years running.
Bobby also was an excellent photographer, specializing in shots of race cars and vintage autos, many taken at famous race tracks, including Le Mans in France. He accumulated thousands of such photos, some of which will be displayed at his funeral.
He was born in Philadelphia to Samuel and Hilda Woods, who died within 16 months of each other before he was 9. He was raised by an aunt, Arneita Garland.
"He was a sensitive, intelligent, caring human being," said Joseph "Turk" McFadden, a car salesman and a drummer who both worked and played with Bobby. "His death leaves a hole that will never be filled."
They, met at Central High School, where both played in school bands.
"He was my best man in 1972 and 1982, and I was his best man around 1982 when he married Sandra Roux, a jewelry artist," Turk said. "
The marriage ended in divorce.
In addition to music and selling cars, Bobby and Turk were big on making models of cars, trains, radio-controlled planes and the like. "If it went fast, we liked it," Turk said.
Turk also accompanied Bobby on trips to car races and vintage-car exhibitions, where he took photographs. "His artistic abilities were amazing," Turk said.
As a musician, Bobby played with such groups as Fallen Angel, The Torpedoes, Hot Property, The Heartaches and Trotter's Alley.
"Bobby was the driving force of the rhythm sections for those bands," Turk said.
He became a member of the Holiday Inn Band in the late '70s, playing at Holiday Inns all over the country.
One of Turk's jobs was to keep Bobby interested in life. He had a tendency to become morose and Turk often found himself in the position of virtually dragging Bobby out of his apartment to attend some function.
"My job was to keep him happy all the time," Turk said. "He didn't touch a bass for 20 years, but in the past six years, we teamed up and started doing instrumental, experimental rock music."
They mostly recorded, but also had a few gigs at local clubs. They formed a group called The Geezers, a reference to the veteran status of its members.
"We could always find a way to laugh at stuff," Turk said. "After he died, I felt as if my heart had been ripped out and will never be replaced."
Bobby is survived by numerous cousins.
Services: Memorial service 11 a.m. Monday at the Slater Funeral Home, 1426 Fitzwater St.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Sierra Club, Save the Florida Panther Now, Box 59156, Boulder CO 80322-9156.