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  WWII vet and politician who built Dothan-based media empire dies
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ContributorMr. Techno 
Last EditedMr. Techno  Oct 19, 2004 09:54am
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MediaNewspaper - Birmingham News
News DateMonday, October 18, 2004 06:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionDOTHAN, Ala. (AP) Charles Woods, who overcame the scars of a fiery World War II plane crash to become a wealthy media and real estate owner and perennial political candidate, has died at age 83.

Woods died Sunday at Extendicare, a health and rehabilitation center in Dothan, according to WTVY, the television station he owned for 40 years. Funeral services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday at Calvary Baptist Church in Dothan.

Other details were not immediately available.

Woods' face and hands were disfigured by burns in the crash of the B-17 he was piloting in 1944. But after the war he started a house-building business and in 1955 launched Dothan's first TV station, the beginning of a media chain and other business ventures that made him wealthy.

"I consider myself an ordinary man who has been extraordinarily blessed by God," he told The Associated Press in a 2000 interview.

His holdings were reduced to a radio station and an office building when he ran into financial problems in the early 1990s. But he continued his unsuccessful quest for political office including runs for president, the U.S. Senate and House as well as statehouse posts with a final losing bid for a Congressional seat in Alabama's 2nd District in 2002.

Woods ran both as a Democrat and a Republican, in both Alabama and Nevada, where he lived at times.

"I want to spend the rest of my life further answering God's call to me," he told the AP in a 1996 interview. "I want to make a difference for the rest of my life."

According to Woods, he was born in a shack in a coal mining community called Toadvine near Birmingham in 1921 and was given to an orphanage by his mother after his father ran off. Raised by a farm family in Headland, he became a pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force and then U.S. forces.

When his plane crashed on takeoff in northeast India and became an inferno of exploding fuel, he was burned over 70 percent of his body and spent the next five years in mil
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