A stroke took him quietly as he worked alone in his private office at home.
Woody’s interest in gemology took him from adolescent rock collector to rare stone expert at the Gemological Institute of America prior to moving to Springfield.
Famous for his radio ads saying, “I want to be your jeweler,” and his “Wokka! Wokka!” diamonds, Justice rose from an obscure location in a strip center on Sunshine Avenue to occupy a 10,000 square foot showroom on Highway 65 at Battlefield Road.
Justice was chosen from among 30,000 retail jewelers in 2007 for induction into the Jewelers Hall of Fame in New York. The other inductee that year was Michael J. Kowalski, CEO of Tiffany. During his acceptance speech, Kowalski mentioned that although his company did more than 641 million dollars last quarter,
“It’s really not that difficult to take a 200 year-old legendary brand to the next level. What I’ve done is nothing compared to my fellow honoree. Woody Justice is a man who started with nothing and built a jewelry store that’s known across America. And he did it in just 25 years.”
The applause shook the walls and is still echoing.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Camp Barnabas, an Ozarks camp for handicapped children that Woody supported fervently.