James A. Woods, 74, of Mullica Hill, who retired in 1992 as a Philadelphia police sergeant, died Saturday, March 14, of pneumonia at home.

Mr. Woods joined the department in September 1967 and was promoted to sergeant in April 1990, a police spokeswoman said.

Born in Philadelphia, he grew up near 29th and Dickinson Streets in Grays Ferry and attended Edward E. Bok Technical High School.

Mr. Woods helped prepare bread for a South Philadelphia bakery at the same time that he worked for one of the Philadelphia sites of the Horn & Hardart Automat chain.

"He always worked two jobs, all the time," his wife, Josephine, said.

Before joining the police force, she said, he was on the road for the former Keystone Automobile Club, helping motorists in distress.

And though "I did not want him to be a policeman," because of the dangers, Mr. Woods had "always wanted to do that."

Mr. Woods spent much of his career in the canine unit, his wife said, first in the subways, then in Mayfair, and again in the subways, with some time in the Civil Affairs Unit.

The bonus, his wife said, was that he got to take home his K-9 partner, so that "we always had our German shepherd dog." Named Pup, the dog carried badge No. 205.

In the 2000s, she said, Mr. Woods was elected to the Harrison Township Committee and became the town's safety coordinator.

Russell Montalbano, a Norristown chiropractor and family friend, recalled that "when Jim would come into a place, you knew that he was there. He was the life of the party."

Montalbano said that "what I loved was, he was a big ribber. Everybody would give him a hard time. But there was no fear in the man. He would love giving it back."

Besides his wife of 55 years, Mr. Woods is survived by daughters Susan Germscheid, Joann Woods-Yoder, and Janet Woods-Kelly; a sister; six grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.

A viewing was set from 9 to 10:45 a.m. Thursday, March 19, at the Catholic Community of the Holy Spirit, 17 Earlington Ave., Mullica Hill, before an 11 a.m. Funeral Mass. Burial will be in St. Joseph's Cemetery, Swedesboro.

Donations may be sent to www.redcross.org.

Condolences may be offered to the family at www.mcgfuneral.com.

wnaedele@phillynews.com

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