Robert Reynolds Wood
Dec. 6, 1926-April 21, 2023
Menlo Park, California
Robert Reynolds Wood. 1926-2023
Robert Wood passed away peacefully at home surrounded by family on April 21, 2023.
Robert Reynolds Wood (Bob) was a remarkable man who touched many with his kindness, generosity, and grace. He was intelligent, caring, optimistic, and always excited for new experiences.
Bob was born on December 6, 1926 in Portland, Oregon. Robert Wood Sr. was a theater manager, and his wife, Bob’s mother, Margaret, had been a performer in the local traveling theaters. After Bob and his beloved sister, Margaret were born, the young family lived a nomadic life, landing in Oregon, Buffalo, New York, Kansas City, Hammond, Indiana, Southern California, and eventually, Cambria Pines, where Bob attended 3rd grade.
In 1939, the family settled in Palo Alto, where Bob thrived. At Jordan Junior High School he was on the track team, excelled as a student, and was elected “Student Manager.” In 1941, he was chosen to announce to the student body that Congress had declared war after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.
Bob attended Palo Alto High School .He was a winning sprinter on the track team and graduated with an A average and multiple awards In 1944 near the end of World War II, Bob was drafted and sent to camp Shanks New York. He served in the 9th Air Force Service Command in Erlangen, Germany. During his time in the armed services, Bob edited the camp’s newspaper and wrote a column with local camp news. In 1946, The Nuremberg War Crimes trial was in session and Bob entered and won a drawing to attend two sessions. Witnessing Nazi leaders Herman Goering and Rudolf Hess in court triggered his interest in pursuing law as a career.
Upon returning from the war effort, Bob enrolled in Stanford University in January, 1947. He joined the Sigma Chi fraternity in January of 1948, because he liked the song, “The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi.” To save money he lived at home, took extra classes, and attended summer sessions.. He graduated in two and a half calendar years in June, 1949, with “ Great Distinction” and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He then attended Harvard Law School graduating in 1952 and began working as an Associate Attorney in the firm, Athern Chandler and Hoffman, in San Francisco. Bob worked for the partner Edward G Chandler (Bud). As a lawyer, Bud had a large estate planning practice, so Bob began to specialize in estate planning and became a partner in the firm in 1955.
Bob’s social circle in San Francisco revolved around The California and San Francisco Young Republicans (YR). The YR group had monthly social gatherings and was a major source of matrimony. Bob was the editor of the California Young Republican newspaper.
In early 1956, Bob was introduced to Bobbie Woods at a party, (she was the date of one of his YR friends Bill Carroll.) Bob asked Bill for permission first, then asked Barbara out on a date. Soon after they were engaged and were married at Stanford Memorial Church on June 16, 1956. Thus began the love affair of his life, they were married for 63 years, until Barbara passed away in 2019 due to complications from Alzheimer's disease.
Bob and Barbara had three daughters in five years and moved to the Peninsula where they bought their first house in 1961. Bob’s activity in politics did not wane; he worked with the San Francisco Republican County Central Committee and was on the board of directors of the Legal Aid Society of San Francisco.
Bob was a member of the vestry of Trinity Parish in Menlo Park that organized St Bede's Episcopal Church on Sand Hill Road in 1962. The Saint Bede’s community and Bob’s Episcopal faith were the most fulfilling parts of his life. While attending Harvard, Bob discovered his love for skiing and after marrying Barbara, golf rapidly became one of his favorite pastimes. Other hobbies included gardening, traveling with Barbara, raising three daughters, and spending time outdoors.
The Woods spent summer vacations in La Jolla, Sun Valley, Carmel, and the Canadian Rockies. In 1976, Bob and Barbara wanted the family to experience the festivities surrounding the Country's bicentennial, so they flew to Detroit, bought a car, and traveled throughout the East Coast sightseeing before returning to California in a new, bright blue Oldsmobile station wagon
Bob and Barbara were active in the Stanford Golf Club and had a wide circle of friends. They attended the Big Game every year and enjoyed tailgating and dinners with their Young Republican friends from their time in San Francisco in the ‘50s.
In 2010, when Bob was 84, he retired from full-time practice. His first hobby was to build a vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Menlo Park, which he called the farm. He was very proud of his peach trees, blackberries, tomatoes, sweet peas and whatever vegetables and fruits survived the gophers. Retirement hobbies for Bob and Barbara included babysitting the four grandchildren, joining a hiking group, playing bridge, taking art classes through Avenidas, planning reunions with his Paly High class of ‘45 and most importantly, travel. Between 1981 and 2017, they took 46 trips throughout the world. Bob was also known for homemade greeting cards that he proudly gave for all occasions,
When something disrupted his beloved routine, Bob found a way to remain active and maintain a positive outlook.. He planted a victory garden at the beginning of Covid and asked his grandchildren to install a monitor with a camera so he could Zoom with his high school classmates and attend virtual service at St. Bede’s. Soon, Bob resumed his beloved walks around the duck pond in Sharon Heights often accompanied by a daughter or grandchild. Wendy and Bob’s caregiver, Christina Holloway, took Bob to Gamble Garden Center, Filoli, Allied Arts, and scenic drives to the Coast. With our friend Mimi, they even braved the San Mateo County Fair. For even more excitement Wendy and Bob rescued their beloved Puppy, Belle Star!
Bob always found the best in everyone. Bob was a giving, disciplined and hard working man. He was a loyal and devoted son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, friend, and colleague. He was a self made man. He had a heart of gold and never spoke ill of others. He led with kindness and generosity. Though he has transcended from life on this earth, we can honor him daily by following the golden rule he lived by: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." . Bob was predeceased by his wife, Barbara, and sister, Margaret. He is survived by his three daughters Carol (Pär), Sally (Mark) and Wendy, and his grandchildren Erik, Jackson, Karl and Elissa.
A Memorial service and celebration of life reception will be held at St Bede's, June 9, 2023 at 4 PM.
For those who wish to donate in Bob’s memory, the family would appreciate a donation to St. Bede’s church where the family has set up a fund in Bob's name to serve his beloved community, Second Harvest Food Bank of Silicon Valley, and Alzheimer’s Fund of America.