PHOENIX (3TV / CBS5) – Marcelino QuiÃ±onez loves Grant Woods. While he remains with a deep sense of sadness in the days following Woods’ death, he recalls their special memories together.
âHe was really nice to me,â Marcelino told Arizona’s Family on Monday. “He was just really nice to me. And I think that’s just who he was. He was just a really nice man.”
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Their paths crossed years ago, when Marcelino was the drama teacher for Woods’ daughter. “He called me one day, it was a Sunday. He said: ‘Marcelino, I want to write a play with you.'”
And that’s what they did. The play was called “Dear Senator” and they performed it at the Tempe Center for the Arts. Marcelino says Woods insisted they put Marcelino’s name first on the flyer and that they worked together for months in the summer of 2018.
âGrant was so smart,â he said. “Grant was really smart, so he knew the character arcs. He knew the motivations.”
The show was about a Tory Republican Senator played by Woods. Marcelino’s character was a young liberal activist. On stage, the two met after a speech in high school and kept in touch through letters.
Marcelino says the letters were a way to have a meaningful dialogue with someone on the opposite side of the political spectrum. âHis acting was really good actually,â Marcelino said. “His acting was really good. I have my BA and MA in acting, but Grant held it up. There was this monologueâ¦ where this young character was losing hope. And Grant’s character had the cue.” no no no.'”
Offstage, Woods was a champion of arts and after-school programs for children.
âGrant was truly a passionate advocate for children and their families,â said Marcia Mintz, President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley.
The Mesa branch of the organization‘s club was renamed in honor of Woods years ago. Mintz says he had deep connections to the community and that Woods’ years of work went beyond philanthropy
âWhat Grant also did wasâ¦ he spent time at the club with our kids. He would go to the club to visit and tour and really take the time to talk to the kids about their future,â Mintz said.
While the work of Woods and his family has impacted thousands of children, Marcelino feels privileged and even blessed to have known him.
âThere are so many words to describe Grant,â Marcelino said. “But Grant was generous in everything he did. He was generous in the writing process. He was generous in the play. He was generous wherever we went.”
Mintz says some have made donations to the organization in Woods’ honor.
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