Founder Sherwood Wirt
Dr. Sherwood Eliot Wirt, known to friends and family as Woody, went home to the Lord in the early morning of November 8, 2008. His wife, Ruth, told us that he slipped away in his sleep.
Sherwood enjoyed a long literary career that started with jobs for the San Francisco Examiner, and the Juneau (Alaska) Daily Press, where he served as city editor for four years. He also served as a chaplain in the U.S. Air Force, pastored several churches, and held Ph.D.'s in theology and psychology from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland (Class of '51).
After writing a book about Billy Graham’s San Francisco Crusade in 1958, Billy invited him to join his team. Woody holds the distinction of being the founding editor of Decision, a magazine envisioned and established by Billy Graham which reached a circulation of well over four million under Woody’s direction. For over twenty years he accompanied Billy on countless evangelistic crusades all over the world, and later wrote a biography about his friend titled Billy: A Personal Look at Billy Graham. His death came the day after Graham celebrated his 90th birthday.
Woody wrote hundreds of articles and over 30 books, including his best seller, Jesus Man of Joy, and the highly recognized translation of one of his favorite pieces of literature: The Confessions of St. Augustine. His writing has been translated into eight languages. During his long career, Dr. Wirt once met Albert Einstein, was invited to the White House, and was the last writer to interview C.S. Lewis before Lewis died in 1963. You can read that interview athttp://www.lawbuzz.com/movies/shadow_lands/images/before_death_csl-wirtinterview.pdf
With much of his career devoted to helping other writers, Woody started schools of writing all over the world. When he “retired” in 1978 he founded the San Diego Christian Writers Guild, the largest countywide Christian writers group in the United States. He is remembered by countless writers for his encouragement, inspiration, humility, and mentoring. Many notable authors count him as their “writing father.” Jerry Jenkins (Left Behind) once wrote, “Woody, thanks for decades of mentoring, encouragement, critique, and indefatigable labor on behalf of all of us called to this glorious ministry of writing.”
Woody loved to hike and reveled in God’s creation (“Why do people go to gyms,” he used to ask, “when there are all these hills to climb?”). He loved Gilbert and Sullivan and good literature. He was passionate about the JOY of the Lord, and wrote at least three books on the subject. He loved people. He loved the Lord. He loved life.
Woody spent 97 years on this earth. His beloved wife, Ruth, tells us that in the past few weeks, when he had to be moved into an assisted care facility, he spent his days sitting at the dining room table, greeting other residents with a smile, and reading his Bible out loud. He served his Lord until the day he went home.
Sherwood Eliot Wirt is survived by his wife, Ruth, and son and daughter-in-law, Alex and Gina, and two grandchildren, Bree and Tyler