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Cornelius News

Mt. Zion celebrates 50 years with organist Woody Washam


Woodrow Washam Jr. will be honored Oct. 9 for being the official organist at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church for 50—count ‘em, 50—years. A reception in his honor will be held after a special, music-filled worship service at 11 a.m.

But be sure to call this affable 66-year-old “Woody.” He’s met just about everyone in Cornelius, and seen everything there is to see in 28031 at least once.

He began playing at Mt. Zion when Lyndon Johnson was president. The Supremes’ “Baby Love” was No. 1 on the charts.

Woody has been there with Cornelius at its most joyous times, and its most difficult.

In addition to being the organist at 600-plus weddings—a few folks more than once, he says—he has played the organ at some 350 funerals and memorial services. He’s ecumenical: Woody says he’s done the most weddings with the late Rev. John “Didi” Wayland, the former pastor of Bethel Presbyterian Church.

Woody’s favorite hymn: “Blessed Assurance.” He spends about two hours a week practicing, “depending on the difficulty of the music that Sunday.”

He is a lifelong member of Mt. Zion, following in his parents’ footsteps, and a banker with a following all around Lake Norman. Washam is also Cornelius’ mayor pro tem, which means he is the top vote-getter among members of the Cornelius Town Board. He is also an active member of the Visit Lake Norman and United Way boards of directors, as well as a long-time member of the North Mecklenburg Rotary Club.

He attended Cornelius Elementary School, J.M. Alexander Middle School and North Mecklenburg High School. Woody went on to attend Catawba College where he received a BA degree in Business Administration and a minor in Music.

The public is invited to attend the special service, as well as the reception after.