Robert “Bob” Earl Wood quietly passed away at his home the morning of November 26, 2019 with his daughter Nina and his wife Julie at his side. They each held a hand and told him he was loved, admired and will be missed.
Robert Earl Wood was born on the Kansas prairie on December 31st, 1931 to Earl Marion and Edna Fern “Billie” (Douglass) Wood. He grew up in a humble, modest background and went out to travel the world, raise a wonderful family, serve his country, and provide excellent dental care for over (50) years.
Bob attended Fort Scott public schools along with his sister Jeneane. He lost his brother Jack at an early age. His mother and father instilled many positive traits in him from an early age that carried him throughout his life. These included a strong work ethic, compassion for others, and an unquenched intellectual curiosity.
After graduating from Fort Scott High School, Bob went on to college at Kansas State University, majoring in Business Administration. Upon graduation, he joined the U.S. Navy and became a Naval Aviator, training at Pensacola, Florida. His father passed away while he was serving in the Navy. The group of naval aviators he trained and graduated with held a special place in his life. He remained in contact with them and regularly attended reunions until his health would no longer allow.
During his school years, Bob fulfilled his quest for adventure by going west for three summers to be a smoke jumper in Oregon while attending college. He would report to camps in remote regions where he would train and be ready when the call came. He would parachute out of planes into the fire areas with all his equipment to battle the fires. This endeavor was another particular point of pride for him.
After leaving the U.S. Navy, Bob enrolled in Dental School at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. Not one to shy away from responsibility or hard work, Bob completed Dental School while married, supporting both his wife and two children, Paul and Nina. Upon graduation from school, Bob's wanderlust took him to Canyon, Texas to start his practice. While there, he worked hard to break into the dental practice while enjoying all the outdoor activities the area provided. One of his favorite stories to tell was the time he decided to hike Palo Duro Canyon. He got misoriented and had to find his way back in the dark while packing out both Paul and Nina. While in Canyon, the family's third child arrived, Mary Ann.
After deciding the constant Texas wind wasn't for him the family headed back home. Home became Nevada, Missouri where a new dental practice was launched in 1968. The practice started at 1915 W. Austin with the family living in a trailer while the family home was built. And what a house it was. Bob was always on the lookout for new and innovative ideas. He was able to design the house with all the latest gadgets and custom contract it to include everything he wanted.
The practice took off, primarily due to Bob's hard work, outstanding knowledge of all the latest dental procedures, and his honesty and integrity. He always treated patients with The Golden Rule in mind. And when you treat people with respect and take care of their needs, they will come back to see you.
As if running a full-time dental practice wasn't enough to keep him busy, Bob continued to serve his country in both the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve. He put his flight skills to use by becoming certified in rotary wing aircraft. He flew helicopters for the Army National Guard and became commander of an aviation battalion. There are rumors that he would fly by the office in Nevada and land helicopters there. After his health wouldn't allow him to fly anymore, he transferred to the Army Reserve Dental Corps and continued to serve by providing dental care to military members. Bob's reserve duties took him to many different places in the United States. He served his country for 41 years, and retired as a Colonel in 1991.. Along with his years of service in the military, he was a fifty-year member of the Masonic Lodge and Scottish Rite in Fort Scott, KS.
Bob was a generous man who always had time for his family and friends. Every member of the family can tell stories about how he would help repair a car, fix an appliance, or throw on his overalls, climb up on a roof, and help shingle a house. Bob didn't forget his mother, Billie, who continued living in the family homestead in Fort Scott. He would take her on trips and go over and see her on a regular basis, making sure she had whatever she needed.
Bob had a lifelong love for health and fitness. He became a vegetarian after raising a cow to butcher but became attached to “that Darn Cow” who walked with him every day to and from his house and dental practice. He loved running, starting with 5 and 10K’s before taking the leap into running marathons. His running buddy, Randy Jordan and Bob ran their first marathon in 1986 in Dallas. Together, they ran 12 marathons in total. They were very proud that they ran the Boston marathon in 1988. That was 25 years before the Boston Marathon Bombing. “How the world has changed”, Bob said. He went to the YMCA 5 days a week until his last few years when Parkinson started to impact his mobility. Even then he tried to make it to the YMCA 3 days a week. His latest foray into fitness was his love of Pickle ball. He talked about his Pickle ball players. The stories abound around the “Y” of Bob swimming seventy-five laps on his 75th birthday. On that same day at the family home, he did seventy-five pushups.
In 1992 he married Julie Bott and moved to Moundville. This started yet another chapter in his life. He settled into "town living" in Moundville. He was always engaged in projects. Whether it was continuing to add onto and improve his house, buying up other houses in Moundville to renovate, putting up a custom designed shop building for himself, or investing in a mini-storage, he always had a project going. And he was never lacking for friends. His patients and friends would stop by, visit, bring him vegetables, or just pass the time.
Bob continued to practice dentistry until 2009. But his office continues the family tradition. Paul engaged in his oral surgery practice in that same office at 1915 W. Austin until he chose to consolidate his practice nearer to his hometown in Lawton, Oklahoma. Grandson Andrew is practicing at that same location today. Grandchildren Austin and Katherine are planning on joining the family profession of dentistry
A life well lived. This is what everyone hopes for when their final time comes. Robert Earl Wood can certainly lay claim to the fact that he truly did have a life well lived. He leaves behind an unprecedented legacy. The one he could be most proud of was the family that he raised, mentored, and provided for. This was evident this past weekend when an early Thanksgiving was celebrated. The house at Moundville was full of family and friends. Everyone came to see Bob and to celebrate his life with him. It was overheard someone telling Bob, “we’re all here because of you”.
Bob was predeceased in death by his brother Jack, his father Earl Wood, and his mother Edna "Billie" (Douglass)Wood. He leaves behind his wife, Julie Wood, son Dr. Paul Stocker Wood and wife Heidi, Lawton, Oklahoma, daughter Nina Cynthia Light and husband John Phenix City, AL, daughter Mary Ann White and husband Daniel Moore, Ok, stepdaughters Lacey Wood and Randall and Candi Byram and husband Jason of Moundville, MO, and sister Jeneane Baker Farlington, KS. His Grandchildren; Ryan, Evan, Andrew, Mary Dana, Katie, Austin, Katherine, Lizzie, Eli, Gavin, Olivia, Gabby and his great-grandchildren: Riley, Sean, Paxton, Quentin, Brantley, Weston, Jaxton, Oscar, Aiden, and Jace and many niece, nephews and great-nieces and nephews.
Bob, Robert, Doc., Woody, Dad, Gpa, Grandpa Bobby, Papa, Buzzard; He was known by many names, but everyone knew him as a kind, generous, adventurous, innovative man. A LIFE WELL LIVED!
Military Honors will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 30, 2019 at Ferry Funeral Home in Nevada with visitation following until 12:00 p.m.
Those who wish may contribute in Bob’s memory to the Parkinson’s Foundation or Heartland Hospice in care of the funeral home.
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