Obituary of Robert Wood
Robert R. Wood, Bob to pretty much everyone in his adulthood, was born November 16th… no, uh, November 12… wait, [checks notes] it was November 14, 1936, yes. His kids never could keep it straight… These other dates are birthdays of other close family members. Back to the topic at hand: Bob ducked out a back door in the early morning hours of May 26, 2023, saying something to the effect of, “don’t wait up”.
Those left wondering about the timing of his departure and what his last words meant, include his wife, Carolyn of Arvada, CO; his two children, DiAnna Harrison (Brad Harrison) of Denver, Colorado and John “Jack” Wood (Catherine Wood) of Wheat Ridge, Colorado; two grandsons, Benjamin and Callum; fur baby/fuzzy child Shadows; his two sisters, Judy Bruning of Franklin, Indiana, and Linda Wood of Bedford, Indiana; a niece Brenda Sears of Flat Rock, Indiana, and a nephew Daniel Bruning of Titusville, Florida; and several cousins on both sides of the family.
Bob was born in and spent his childhood in Lafayette, Indiana. As a young child he showed a strong learning potential, and attended an experimental school rather than starting kindergarten. There he learned to read and write to a level beyond his peers in what we now might call a gifted and talented program. He attended and graduated from Jefferson High School in 1954, inadvertently meeting his future spouse during that time, Carolyn, who was the daughter of his mother’s friend. In 1959 he and Carolyn started dating and in September 1962 they married, celebrating 60 years of marriage in 2022. He was a caring and supportive husband and father; he was beyond pleased with the successes of his children and enjoyed the very fact that he had grandchildren. He had a wonderful sense of humor and especially enjoyed puns and word play, a tradition that continues with his kids (it’s likely a genetic trait). He was also the type that you could ask for help with analyzing any situation; always glad to think through issues with you, to offer advice, to find a solution or to figure out a challenge. He brought this insightfulness and humor to all his efforts really. He valued education, not just for himself but for others as well. He pursued an engineering degree at Purdue University of West Lafayette, Indiana. He learned that he liked drafting and designing, that pick-up trucks are fun to drive and that he shouldn’t be a mechanical engineer.
In February of 1956, Bob enlisted in the US Army and showed an aptitude for learning languages. He spent nearly a year in the US Army language school to become a Russian translator, and then was assigned to the Army Security Agency (the Army’s branch of the National Security Agency). Stationed at the Pentagon and also for over a year in Japan, where he would listen in on secret Russian radio broadcasts and provide translations on such things as Soviet troop maneuvers and the launch of Sputnik. He attained the rank of E-5 (SPC5) and earned the Good Conduct ribbon.
Following his time in the Army, he re-enrolled at Purdue University where he earned degrees in International Relations, Psychology and an advanced degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. His professional career started in the 1960s reaching well into the 1990s; shrinking factories rather than minds. He worked while in college as a draftsman at Alcoa in Lafayette, as well as various senior management and executive roles, notably at Dana Corporation, National Gypsum Corporation, Corning Glass and Inland Steel, from which he retired. He also taught courses in Industrial Psychology at Elmira College in New York and at Purdue University-Calumet in Hammond, Indiana. Bob was active in several civic, neighborhood and professional organizations, including the American Psychological Association, the Purdue Alumni Association and local chapters, and the local PTA when his kids were in school. Bob and Carolyn lived in Lafayette, and West Lafayette, Indiana, Attica, Indiana, Danville, Illinois, Grosse Isle, Michigan, Big Flats, New York, Gary, Indiana, Albuquerque, New Mexico and most recently after a successful abduction conducted by their children, he and Carolyn moved to Arvada, Colorado.
Bob’s final departure out the door was preceded by his mother Doris in 2001, his father Ray in 1991, not to mention several beloved pets over his life. A military service is planned and a memorial stone will be placed at Ft Logan National Cemetery, on June 29th. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Purdue Alumni Association or to the Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association.