Leonard Wood passed away on September 10, 2006, at the age of 83, after a valiant two-year battle against cancer.
Len and his wife, Selma, were residents of St. John for 20 years, from 1979 to 1999, when they moved to North Carolina.
Born in Brady, Texas on October 17, 1922, Len grew up in rural Texas and entered Abilene Christian University at the age of 16. Upon graduation, Len married his sweetheart, Selma, and entered the Army in 1942. While with the Army, he attended Virginia Polytechnic Institute to receive advanced chemical engineering courses. Len was then transferred to Columbia University where he was involved with the Manhattan Project for the Army.
After WWII, Len remained on the East Coast where he and Selma raised their family of four boys, Bill, Russ, Rich and Tom. Len worked for 39 years for National Starch and Chemical Corporation, where he was the Vice President of Research and Marketing.
In 1978 Len and his family made their first visit to St. John during a bareboat sailing vacation. It was love at first sight, and they returned some months later and purchased their home out in Devers Bay. Len and Selma visited St. John and their home for several years until making it their primary residence in 1986.
Len and Selma moved to North Carolina in 1999 in order to care for Selma’s mother.
Although he has not lived in St. John for the past six years, Len’s heart has never left. He and Selma both loved the island and the spirit of the people who live there. They had good friends who cared for them, and while living there they always felt at home and at peace.
The family hopes to return Len to St. John for a family service at a date yet to be determined.
He is survived by his wife of 64 years, four sons, seven grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Len will be missed by all who knew him.
My heart lies heavy in my breast
Its hand to lay my throughts to rest
For now I know the time is near
When I must leave my island dear
The sea that beckons with wavy arms
The sun, the breeze so fresh and warm
My home besid the laughing shore
How can I leave what I so adore
But go I must and leave behind
Years of joy and friends so kind
No matter where I my head should lie
My thoughts will ever bring a sigh
As I recall the life I lived
While on my ilsand so revered
— By Leonard Woood, 1997