Murphy Funeral Homes


Stephen J. Wood

April 12, 1947March 14, 2021

Born on April 12, 1947 in Schenectady, New York, Stephen graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1970 and took his commission in the U.S. Navy. Shortly after completing active duty obligations, he married Joyce Higley on May 7, 1977, beginning a strong and vital union that endured to the day of his passing. Stephen and Joyce devoted much of their time to raising their children – Heather and Brian. He never missed an event, game or opportunity to visit or help with his family and grandchildren. In recent years, his primary passion was travel in pursuit of his two favorite hobbies, skiing and photography. Along with Joyce, he visited over 30 countries and 7 continents

Following his active duty obligation, Steve continued naval service in the reserves and worked full time in the small business established earlier by his dad, Robert Wood, Captain, U.S. Navy, Retired. Father and son applied their leadership skills to their business ventures and methodically expanded the company, adding business partner John Fegan along the way. Steve eventually became President of Auto-Chlor of Northern Virginia and growing that business to seven states.. He was most proud of the 150+ jobs created.

Stephen was the middle child in a brood of five, but this did not deter him from being the leading extrovert of the crew. In that way, he was the most like their inimitable father. Throughout his life, his outgoing personality attracted numerous friends and boosted his success in business. So did his rare intensity in tackling new pursuits and challenges, be they his own or those of loved ones and friends. He was a risk taker and forever optimistic that he could overcome every daunting challenge. No matter the outcome, he pushed forward with grace and energy. Although concentrating for many years on achieving success with the family business, family itself remained his top priority. His spouse Joyce was his best friend and he was supremely devoted to caring for his beloved daughter Heather and son Brian. It can be said that his next best friends were his series of cherished golden retriever pups. Extended family gatherings were always a source of delight to Steve, from the early days of holiday fetes with young cousins running around, through later weddings, group ski and beach vacations, and finally the very memorable 2019 siblings and spouses cruise in the Mediterranean.

Stephen was always a group spark plug, setting the example of zest for life. He was quick to find humor at the right times. With an amazing power of recall, Steve would frequently delight the rest of us with colorful stories of family lore. He lived life “full steam ahead”, playing hard, loving fiercely, delving deeply. While his hobbies were many, skiing, photography and wood-working stand out, and he was never satisfied with mediocrity in any of his chosen pursuits.

Though our world has lost him prematurely, his family knows that he took seriously his own health and that of loved ones, setting a marvelous example of how to be proactive in addressing wellness challenges. The rest of us who have been close to him have each benefitted in one specific way or another from his attitude toward life, health and personal relationships.

Stephen is survived by his loving wife of 44 years, Joyce Wood of Alexandria, VA; his daughter Heather Greene, Alexandria, VA; son Brian Wood, Richmond, VA; siblings Eileen Utter, Sun Lakes, AZ; Barry Wood, Cocoa, FL; Jennifer Jacksits, Sarasota, FL; Priscilla Fox, Arlington, VA; and five grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to one of the following charities favored by Steve: or

A Mass of Christian Burial can be viewed virtually through


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Stephen J. Wood

have a memory or condolence to add?

Greg Vaughn

March 28, 2021

It was a privilege to know Steve and have him in my life. What a wonderful and amazing person. Full of energy, with a quick wit and ready smile. Steve had the ability to engage with anyone he met and with a few minutes of conversation brighten their day. Our photography trips were full of fun and experiences that I will never forget. The photo here is from our trekking adventure in Patagonia in 2018.

Anne and Chuck Pede

March 27, 2021

Wishing you peace and comfort in the memory of a life well lived. Our hearts and sympathies go out to your family. May God give you strength during this difficult time.

Eugene Boyd

March 26, 2021

To the family of Mr. Woods you have my deepest sympathy and condolences my you find comfort in the word of god during this time.
Sincerely, Eugene Boyd

Corey Guy

March 26, 2021

Steve you always encouraged me. You will truly be missed. I will be praying for your families strength during this difficult time. I look to see you again on the other side MY FRIEND.

Corey Guy & Family

Joey Velez

March 26, 2021

I know this must be a very difficult and demanding time for you all. We are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers. May God give you comfort in your time of grief.

Joey Velez and Family
Charleston SC

Christopher Westerholm

March 25, 2021

Will be greatly missed. Only having the pleasure of knowing Steve for a short 14 years he touch my life in many ways. I am a better soul for have knowing him and learning life lessons from Steve for sure.
My prayer are with the Family and Friends.

Much Love,
Chris & Jolanta

Juan Pons

March 24, 2021

Steve lived fiercely, and completely. Many of us say that we live life to the fullest, but most of us don't measure up to how Steve lived life. Always generous, curious and interesting, my last conversation with Steve was sharing audiobooks we both enjoyed and encouraging each other to listen to them. I am so sorry that Steve left us so soon, but I am glad to have known him and shared some pretty special moments with Steve.

I am including an image of Steve, along with Joyce, on his birthday of all days enjoying a close up moment with a Gray Whale.