William Wood Obituary
 
In Memory of

William James Wood

September 22, 1947 - February 19, 2014
Obituary

Bill was born in Fukuoka, Japan on September 22, 1947. At the time, his parents, Mary Margaret and Bill Wood were assigned to the occupation forces serving in Japan. Bill's father was in the 24th Infantry Division. The family lore says Bill was the first "western" baby born in the southern Japanese island of Kyushu. It is true that due to an absence of military doctors, Bill was delivered by a veterinarian. General MacArthur had imposed US rule on Japan by installing US military officers in all the government facilities. Bill came home to live in the former governor's house in Fukuoka. A full house of servants fell in love with him...
Bill was born in Fukuoka, Japan on September 22, 1947. At the time, his parents, Mary Margaret and Bill Wood were assigned to the occupation forces serving in Japan. Bill's father was in the 24th Infantry Division. The family lore says Bill was the first "western" baby born in the southern Japanese island of Kyushu. It is true that due to an absence of military doctors, Bill was delivered by a veterinarian. General MacArthur had imposed US rule on Japan by installing US military officers in all the government facilities. Bill came home to live in the former governor's house in Fukuoka. A full house of servants fell in love with him and taught him his first language, Japanese.

In 1948, he moved with his family to Ft Lewis. His brother, J.Bob (later, Bob), was born in April 1950 before their father left with the 2nd Infantry Division at the start of the Korean War. The family moved back home to Davenport, Iowa, and awaited the return of Bill's Dad from the war.

After some military schooling, the reunited family moved to Honolulu, Hawaii in 1953 where Bill's father taught ROTC at Punahou School. Bill and his brother found a new home in the former Coast Guard commander's house overlooking Kahala Bay. The Japanese had destroyed the Coast Guard station and the boys loved exploring the ruins. Wearing shoes was rare, swimming in the ocean was everyday, and Dad carried both brothers all over Oahu on his motor scooter (no helmets!). The house is gone now….Tom Selleck bought the property for his home! Bill began school in Hawaii.

The family moved through a succession of military assignments after that, first Ft Leavenworth, Kansas, then Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, then Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. The family vacationed throughout the western U.S., always riding in style in a 1958 Plymouth station wagon with two brothers watching America's beauty and majesty roll by through the back window of that car. Bill was involved in scouting and loved to "camp out," ride horses, hike, and fish with his Dad. He would eventually become an Eagle Scout. School was never Bill's first interest, but there was never a better friend or classmate. He convinced his father to build a succession of "go carts" and was fascinated by hot rods and racing.

In 1963, Dad was off to Korea again, so the family returned to Davenport, Iowa. Bill loved to be back with his cousins and was loose on the small town streets with his bike and large group of friends. He enjoyed school here, wrestled for the team, and made some lifelong friends. One of them sparked an early interest in helicopters and flying.

In 1964, the family reunited and moved to Alexandria, Virginia. He got a red MG A sports car and the maintenance occupied most of his free time. He loved that car. Bill would spend two years in Hammond High School where he wrestled, played in the band, and in 1966, graduated.

The draft was calling but Bill decided to go to Old Dominion College in Norfolk, Va. After one year, Bill decided to pursue his earlier interest in helicopters. He entered the Army in 1967, attended flight school, and in the fall of 1968, he departed for Vietnam where he flew OH 6, Light Observation helicopters. He loved the flying, his teammates, and his unit. He earned a number of well-deserved awards for courage and exceptional flying skill. He would say he cost the Army four helicopters – two he flew home, and two he left on the ground, where they landed "too hard" (ie. crashed).

He left Vietnam and traveled to West Germany where he continued flying the Cold War border until leaving the service in 1972 and attending Schiller College in West Germany. Bill spoke terrific German and loved the food, the wine, and the German towns. He continued flying for the Army National Guard. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Denver where he graduated with a degree in international relations in 1977.

After college, Bill first worked for Manufacture Hannover Bank in New York City. The pace and cost of the city were not really to Bill's liking but he learned banking and finance and decided to pursue study in these fields. He set out for Phoenix, Arizona where he enrolled in Thunderbird International School of Business. He got his master's degree in international business and found a job with a Japanese bank in Seattle. In 1986, Bill settled in Seattle where he found his final home and his future wife, Debra.

Bill met his wife Debra at a veterans' group meeting in 1990. His favorite line for many years was "join a vets group, meet chicks". Debra was the only available chick there and former military.

After leaving his banking career, he worked for Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs to help develop the King County Veterans Incarcerated Program which is now a national model and a huge success for King County. He retired in 1997 and has spent the last 20 years working in the community and remodeling their home.

Bill had a huge heart and was known for his calm and pleasant personality. He worked tirelessly to help other veterans, including being an active member of Vietnam Veterans of America, Jim Hinde Memorial Chapter 102, a long-time member of King County's Veterans Program Advisory Board and the King County Veterans Levy Oversight Board. He enjoyed traveling to Mexico, eating good food, listening to music, and was a true cat lover.

Trying to put Bill into words is not an easy thing to do. He was so multi-faceted. His friends were drawn to him for many reasons. He was passionate in his beliefs and a strong sense of fairness. He was also a true friend and a loving husband. There are not many who can leave that legacy.


Preceding Bill in death were his parents William and Mary Margaret Wood, but he will live on in the hearts of his wife Debra, his brother Bob and wife Margaret, his beloved nieces, Ann Marie and Lee, his step son Eric, three beautiful grandchildren Davin, Lucas, and Samantha, and his cats Maxwell, Molly and Jazzmin, and of course his many, many friends.

We are eternally grateful to each of you for your prayers and condolences during this time of bereavement. Our hearts are heavy for Bill's passing. We find comfort in knowing that Bill is resting safely. – The Wood Family

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Seattle Times, The
William James Wood William James Wood was born in Fukuoka, Japan on Sept. 22, 1947 and passed away in Seattle on Feb. 19, 2014. He is survived by...

Read obituary at Seattle Times, The.

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