Public Safety

After kayaker's death in Washington County, family reflects

'He's got a big heart. He was the rock for a lot of us.'

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources helps search the Skunk River near Brighton for kayaker David Alan Woodson, 52, of Brighton, who was reported missing Saturday. His body was found Monday. (Gretchen Teske/Washington Evening Journal)
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources helps search the Skunk River near Brighton for kayaker David Alan Woodson, 52, of Brighton, who was reported missing Saturday. His body was found Monday. (Gretchen Teske/Washington Evening Journal)

To his family, David “Woody” Woodson was a family man, the life of the party and the one everyone could depend on.

Though Woodson had no children of his own, his sister, Jacqueline Moss, said he raised two nieces from the time they were young into their adult lives and was known to them as “Dad.”

“He loved to fish, hunt, video games, raise prairie dogs, dance and have a good time,” she said. Moss said her brother was a hard worker who held many jobs in the construction industry and spent anytime he was not working outdoors. “He was very comical. He loved to joke around and share his laughter with everybody,” she said.

On Saturday, Woodson was reported missing after disappearing about 6:50 p.m. after being last seen kayaking in the Skunk River near 3180 Highway 1 in Brighton.

After a three-day search, the Washington County Sheriff’s office said his body was found at 4:39 p.m. Monday.

Rusty Woodson, his wife, said he was an avid outdoorsman who loved his family and spent his free time making people laugh and having fun.

“He loved being outside. No matter what it was, he had to be outside. If it was working on cars or doing construction work, he loved being outside,” she said. “He wasn’t meant to be in the house. It wasn’t his thing.”

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Woodson was a triplet and one of 11 children. He is preceded in death by one of the triplets, two additional siblings and both of his parents.

Moss, who lives in Salem, Mo., said the last time she saw her brother was at a family reunion last year. But the two stayed in touch through social media.

“He’s got a big heart. He was the rock for a lot of us,” she said, explaining that Woodson was the one she leaned on when their mother died three years ago.

“I just want to put out there how much we love him and he’s going to be missed,” she said through tears.

After the loss of Woodson, there are only seven siblings left. “We have to hold together,” she said.

Moss said a private funeral service will be Sunday, and that Woodson will be cremated and buried next to a sister, one of the triplets, in Missouri.

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