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Woodrow's father, Everett, is just a poor coal miner who lives outside of Coal Station. He marries Belle without really knowing her, and they make a poor match. Bummer.
When Belle goes missing, Everett is overwhelmed by the duties of fatherhood, so he drops Woodrow off with his grandparents in Coal Station. He loves his son but will never feel fully comfortable around the residents of Coal Station, because he feels like they are looking down on him. He makes one awkward visit over the course of the book, but otherwise remains mostly a memory for Woodrow.