Charles Wesley Wood, 98, a World War II veteran and retiree from government work, passed away on Friday, July 13, 2018. He was born June 1, 1920 in Pontotoc, Mississippi. Charles married the love of his life, Mary Murphy, on April 23, 1938. Charles served his country during World War II as a Corporal in the Army Air Force and was honorably discharged. He worked at Brookley Army Air Field in electronics for many years and later was transferred to Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas during the 1960's. Mary and he moved back to Mobile in the 1970's as retirees. They immediately began their work with special needs citizens and drove the establishment of the Mobile Association for Retarded Citizens (MARC).
Mary and Charles were among those who started MARC and other non-profit organizations. They dedicated their lives to get the group homes built for special needs citizens. Their son, Bill, lives in one of those homes.
Charles served in many capacities as President, Vice-President, and Secretary in the State of Alabama for special needs citizens. He was appointed by the Governor in the State to serve, where he had an office in Montgomery.
During the 1980's and 1990's, Charles had a vision of developing the Japanese Gardens in West Mobile. Working with counterparts in Japan, a plan was put in place to develop a 14-acre fish hatchery into a serene and peaceful garden. He visited the gardens daily to work, planting and building structures while
tirelessly fundraising for the gardens. He frequently told Yuko Jordan, his friend of the gardens, that working toward the goal of the Japanese Gardens kept him young and that you never get
old until you are tired of being young.
In 2016, Charles received the Imperial Conferment of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays by the Government of Japan for his contribution to promoting Japanese culture and understanding of Japan in the United States in his establishment of the Charles Wood Japanese Gardens.
Zana Price, Brenda's next-door neighbor, posted, "Charles was a southern gentleman, devoted husband, and loving parent. He was a patriot, artist, and visionary. "
Charles was preceded in death by his parents, Ol and Beaula Wood, many brothers and sisters, and his wife Mary Wood of 79 years.
Surviving are his daughter, Brenda Hollis of Foley, AL and son, Bill Wood of Mobile, AL, his grandchildren Alicia Bold (Hammond) of Thomson, GA, Kevin Hollis (Susan) of Memphis, TN, and his great-grandchildren Hammond Bold, Jr., Rebecca Hollis, and Christopher Hollis. He has many nephews and nieces.
Visitation at Radney Funeral Home on Dauphin Street in Mobile will be 9:00 AM Wednesday, July 18th with service at 10:00 AM. Interment will be at Pine Rest Cemetery in Foley, AL. In lieu
of flowers, donations may be made to the Mobile Association - Retarded Citizens, 2424 Garden Smith Drive, Mobile, AL 36617.
Alicia & Hammond BoldGranddaughter and Grandson-in-law
Kevin & Susan HollisGrandson and Granddaughter-in-law
Hammond Bold Jr.Great Grandchild
Rebecca HollisGreat Grandchild
Christopher HollisGreat Grandchild
He has many nephews and nieces.