Bob Olen Wood, beloved husband of Germaine (Gerry) C. Wood, passed away Tuesday, Oct. 3 at UNM Hospital with family by his side. We share this news with both heartbreaking grief for our loss and great gratitude that we shared so much of his 92-year life. He is survived by Gerry, his loving wife of 70 years; his children: Marilyn and Steve Gunn of Albuquerque, Dolores A. Wood of Boston, Thomas P. Wood of Rio Rancho, Steve and Terri Wood of Albuquerque, and Barbara M. Wood of Albuquerque, as well as his five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren listed below.
Bob and Gerry were blessed with seven decades of great affection and shared ambition, namely the desire to give to life, leaving the world a better place. They shared their lay ministry in the Albuquerque Catholic community for 50 years. They taught their children compassion and caring, a belief in justice and equality, independence, as well as a sense of self-sacrifice for the greater good. Bob was a great father who offered his wisdom but supported his children in their choices. He loved people. He was a great listener, who shared his experiences and connected to the joys and sorrows of others. He enjoyed a good laugh and was fun to be around.
Bob was a devout Catholic, a eucharistic minister, a lector, a leader of lay adult education activities, and a book club member, among the many, many activities he participated in at the church. In his 35-years at Sandia Laboratories, his ingenuity and precise attention to detail made him a sought-after staff technician who traveled to Edwards Air Force Base, Vandenberg Air Force Base, and the Tonopah Test Range to conduct experiments.
As a born and bred Oklahoma farm boy, Bob was a great outdoorsman who loved the peace and beauty of nature, camping, fishing, and hunting. He was a sharp card player who won tournaments and games until almost the end of his life. He golfed into his 91st year and won championships with his son Tom.
He loved sports and games. He was competitive in high school basketball and track and field. He was a champion bull rider in Oklahoma rodeos. He was a lifeguard, boxed and played basketball in the military. Scouts offered him a scholarship to the University of Connecticut at the time, but he turned it down to marry Gerry. He played softball as an adult, and he coached his sons’ little league baseball teams to more than one championship. He was Little League Coach of the Year in 1967.
Bob touched so many lives and gave to life much more than he took. The first thing we hear and the first thing we ourselves say is “I can’t believe he won’t be here.” He will be deeply missed.
His five grandchildren are: Christopher T. Wood, Kyle R. Wood, Nicole E. Wood, Zachary J. Wood, and Carley M. Higginbotham. His eight great-grandchildren are Ava E. Neis, Nadia M. Wood, Corliss S. Wood, Aleyna Jarmer. Peyton Ruegsegger. Parker M. Higginbotham, Maisley J. Higginbotham, and Monroe J. Higginbotham. Bob was predeceased by his father Coleman F. Wood, his mother Bessie M. Wood (nee Owens); his brothers Allie R. Wood, Juanita V. Craig, Clayton Lee Wood, Sr., Novalene C. Ray, Alvin Z. Wood.
The Rosary for Bob will be at 10:30 a.m., followed by the funeral at 11 a.m. at Risen Savior Catholic Community, 7701 Wyoming Blvd NE, Albuquerque, N.M. The inurnment ceremony will be at Gate of Heaven Catholic Cemetery, 7999 Wyoming Blvd., Albuquerque, N.M