April 27, 1942 — February 3, 2024 (age 81)
Robert Steven Wood…Bobbie, Bob, Uncle Bob, Bishop Wood, Brother Wood, Dad, Sweetheart…really loved this world and the people in it. But he hated the cold. So he decided this was as good a time as any to head on home. On February 3, 2024, he untethered his spirit from his worn out body and went running back into the arms of the people he’d never stopped thinking about or loving in all his years on this earth.
He started out strong on April 27, 1942. Born to goodly parents, Jack and Verna Jane Wood, he was raised in Clifton Idaho; the favorite child out of seven and an “infamous” Wood boy. Even now they tell tales around campfires of the feral siblings who couldn’t be tamed. He wielded BB guns and dynamite, tomahawks and curse words, only interrupted for a few months while bedridden with rheumatic fever.
Fresh out of the water on his baptism day, Bobbie’s older brother, Don, made it his life’s work to tempt his newly pure brother. His efforts bore fruit within the hour as Bobbie swore at his brother for thinking so poorly of him and ran after him with a rock. It hit its mark and he ran for the sanctuary of his mother’s arms. He saw her standing at the screen door, believing he was saved. It was only when he saw she was locking the door that he realized he was not, in fact, her favorite child.
He noticed Kathy Stewart, the new girl at West Side High, with the cat-eye glasses and poodle skirt and in his words, “She was mine.” And so it was. After serving a mission to Canada, Bob came home to find she was writing another missionary, but “I came home first,” so the world was righted. Nearly 60 years later Bob and Kathy Wood are one and the same, which can probably be said of their four children as well; they share the same nose, the same calves and the same idea that if you don’t laugh about it you’ll cry. And so they laughed.
They laughed when they lived for a while in Canada where it was colder than a witch’s rear-end. They laughed as they moved to Utah and Kass made polyester suits that accidentally buttoned on the woman’s side for him to wear while he taught seminary. They laughed when they gave up the extravagance of a teacher’s salary to start their own business, which helped build countless testimonies and taught people to know and love the scriptures. Then they laughed as they eventually stopped carrying that dead horse and together climbed back over the fence to start in a fresh pasture of photography and hosting wedding receptions well into their later years.
Bob had clarity and never wavered in gently speaking the truth. When asked by a journalist why he wanted to be elected to Syracuse City Council, he was honest: “I don’t. Nobody should want this position. But every citizen has a duty to serve.” And he was right. Nobody should want it, but everyone should do it. He said the same of having a job in customer service.
Bob understood grace and gave it to others freely. He looked for the one with the worried face and tried to lift heavy mantles.
Bob was talented. He played the piano by ear and turned every song into a polka, whether he intended to or not. He was known to bestow a jar of pickles or smear a banana peel on his most favorite people and say, “Isn’t that just what you needed?”
He’d yell, “Who wants a banana cream pie?” and his children would shout back, “We do!” To which he’d reply, “Too bad, we don’t have any!” And we laughed and laughed then drove to the store to buy sugar cereal and a big bag of candy and we were happy. Because we were together…we forget the rest.
He loved truth. He loved light. He loved Pepsi and pens and gum and people. He loved, he loved, he loved. Did we mention he loved? His family, his neighbors, his country, his Savior.
And like his Savior, he ministered. To the one, to the many, to his posterity, to his wife. He joyfully attended Red Davis “burns” drinking root beer from a toilet bowl because he was his Home Teacher. He took grandkids on walks when it looked like their parents might be ready to give them back to God. He told stories to friends in hospital beds and brought Christmas morning to struggling families. And up until the end Kathy purchased gum in bulk so Bob could give it to all the kids at church, and by kids we mean everyone because Bob knew that at heart, we’re all young.
He counseled. He taught. He testified. He mentored. He loved.
Most especially his dear wife, Kass. His children always knew that she was first and they were second, just as it should be. She was his counselor, his staff of bread, his hero, his strength and his all. He loved her with all of his heart.
On his very last morning he drove to get himself breakfast because he, “just couldn’t eat mush one more time.” His wishes were granted. He died that night of a broken heart, literally, just like his Savior. We can’t think of a better example to follow.
Dad loved all of his siblings, his in-laws and their spouses, so prepare yourself for a crap-ton of names or skip this part and head straight to the funeral arrangements:
He leaves behind his beloved wife, Katherine Stewart Wood and perfect children Nicole (Brad) Holt, Lisa (Sterling) Bingham, Christian (Natalie) Wood, Kara (Nathan) Elmore. Bob and Kathy also counted Rick, Katie and Parker Tennant as their own.
His grandchildren: Blake Holt, Brinn (Michael) Moss, Carly (Brian) Doll, Ashton (Madelyn) Bingham, Christian (Lauren) Bingham, Seth (Taylor) Bingham, Julia (Brady) Fairbourn, Lillian (Ethan) DeRoussel, Emma, Ethan, Luke and Claire Wood, Wesley, Ava, Mabel, Mary, Jane and Ila Elmore and great grandchildren; Lydia, Rose, Violet, Steven, Daisy, William, Poppy, Ledger and Brian. His siblings Donald Wood, Thomas Wood, William Sput (Rose), David (Janet) Wood, Deborah Wood (Dave Nielsen) and Myra (Ken)Peterson.
His wife’s family: Bill Stewart, Julie Wood, Ted (Lora) Stewart, Rich (Sue) Stewart, Mary (Brian) Tarbet, Mike (Bonnie) Stewart, Chris (Evie) Stewart, Heather (Dale) Lyman and Tim (Marcia) Stewart.
He was preceded in death by his parents: Jack and Verna Jane Wood and Father and Mother in-law Boyd and Sybil Stewart; sisters-in-law: Stana Wood and Tina Stewart.
He was his wife’s protector and as such knew that traditional arrangements would drop her to her knees. Thus, there will be no official viewing, but after the funeral we will stay there at the church to slap each other’s backs and speak of the good old days when we all had hair and walked upright and didn’t know that the last time we saw Bob Wood was the last time we would see Bob Wood…
At least here on this earth.
This is the last testimony which Robert Steven Wood…Bobbie, Bob, Uncle Bob, Bishop Wood, Brother Wood, Dad and Sweetheart…leaves: That He lives. And so does he.
They are together. We forget the rest.
His funeral will be held Saturday, February 10, 2024 at 3:00 p.m. at Whisper Wood Ward Chapel: 2679 S 1000 W Syracuse Utah 84075
Please email Kathy at [email protected] with any memories of Bob she can hold close to her heart.