Woody Pettus Honored By The Homestead

On Saturday, June 2nd, a group of almost a 100 people gathered at The Casino Lawn at The Omni Homestead. The Casino, built in 1895, will be the home of the Omni Homestead’s newest restaurant “Woody’s”. A restaurant dedicated to the memory of Woodrow “Woody” Pettus.

Woody Pettus started working at the Homestead as a caddy when he was a teenager. He moved from the golf course into the stables where he worked with his father. His final move was into The Main Dining Room. He was a bus boy, waiter, wine steward, captain, assistant head waiter, headwaiter, and then Maître d.

In 2003, Golf Styles Magazine recognized Mr. Pettus as Maître d’ of the Year. Last September, (2017) The Historic Hotels of America honored him as Ambassador of the Year.

At the ribbon cutting ceremony, managing director of The Omni Homestead, Brett Schoenfeld, had this to say about Mr. Pettus:

From the time I learned of Woody’s illness we spent a lot of time on the phone. We talked about his legacy here at the hotel. Trying to honor a man like that is a very difficult thing. We, as a team, thought a lot about how we wanted to do that and how we wanted to make that happen. We are pleased to announce today that the restaurant here at The Casino starting June 8th, will be named Woody’s.

The ribbon cutting event was part of a larger weekend dedicated to the life of Woody Pettus. Later that night, The Omni Homestead’s main dining room was transformed into a celebration hall for the life of Mr. Pettus. Proclamations from The Historic Hotels of America were read by William Foudy. A letter from The American Hotel and Lodging Association was read by Henry “Hank” Spire. A letter from the Virginia State Golf Association was read by Don Ryder, and resolution from the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s board of directors was read by Miss Jane Sewell.

The Pettus family received numerous awards, presentations, and plaques throughout the night. State Senator Creigh Deeds Introduced House Resolution number 534 honoring Mr. Pettus. In an extension of remarks for the Congressional Record Robert William Goodlatte United States House of Representatives presented the family with a certificate of recognition. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam also sent a recognition to the family.

Woody’s daughter Lisa Aguilar gave remarks to the crowd on behalf of her family:

What an honor it is to stand here tonight and honor my daddy. He loved this place. To his friends and coworkers, he loved you. He truly loved the Homestead. He loved everything about it. There are guests who have known my dad and told me my kids know your dad, my grandkids know your dad. What an honor.

In a promotional video presented to the family coworker longtime friend Arthur Bryan summed up Woody’s impact on the resort this way:

Many times, guest would call the Homestead and ask, “Is Woody at the Homestead?” If they were planning to come and Woody wasn’t here, 9 out of 10 times they would wait until Woody came back to work before they would even check in.

The Omni Homestead Resort and the Pettus family were sources used in the story.

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle. scott@amrmail.org

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