John G. Wood
May 16, 1924 – May 17, 2019
John Gregg Wood, 95, passed away peacefully at home on May 17, 2019.
John was born in Valley City, North Dakota on May 16, 1924. After spending his early childhood on the family farm, his family moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota where he attended public school. After graduating from high school in 1942, John entered the Navy as a cadet aviator. On March 3, 1943, John was commissioned an Ensign and received his Wings of Gold, becoming one of the Navy’s youngest naval aviators. Later in 1943, while assigned to the aircraft carrier Intrepid, John was injured in a training accident and was transferred to the US Naval Hospital at Mare Island, California. On November 1, 1947, John was retired from the Navy as a Lieutenant with 2300 hours of flight time.
After his naval service, John attended both the University of Minnesota and the University of Florida and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.
In 1951, John moved to the Winter Haven area for a job at the Bartow Air Force Base where he was a civilian flight instructor, supervisor and squadron commander in the 3303 Primary Training Squadron Flying Training Air Force. John and his wife, Ella, started their family consisting of four sons, Craig, John Jr., Tom, and Paul.
In 1954, John built his first home at 1919 19th Street NW, Winter Haven for his family. He continued to buy lots and build homes in the Jan-Phyl Village, Lake Shipp and Inwood area. In 1959, John left the Air Force Base to become a full time builder and developer.
Since that time, John’s building and development companies have had a significant impact on the Winter Haven area and, in particular, the growth of Southeast Winter Haven into a quality residential area. His vision, leadership, and commitment are reflected today throughout Southeast Winter Haven in such communities as Garden Grove, Cypresswood Golf and Country Club, Lakewood, Valencia Wood and Woodpointe.
John contributed his time and financial resources to making the Winter Haven area a better place. He was a strong supporter of the Boy Scouts of America. As Troop 123 Chairman, he saw all of his sons achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. He was involved in the development of the Flaming Arrow Scout Reservation and contributed the funds, planned and constructed a new dining facility at Flaming Arrow named Wood Hall in 2001. The Boy Scouts awarded him the Silver Beaver, the highest recognition for a volunteer in Scouting.
John and his late wife, Ella, were also involved in helping the Girls Club which is now called Girls, Inc. They were instrumental in the planning and construction of several Girls Club facilities. In 2007, John donated the funds, planned, and constructed the Ella Wood Memorial Pavilion at the Girls, Inc. facility in memory of his deceased wife.
In 2007, John recognized the importance of the GiveWell Community Foundation by establishing a Facilities Maintenance Fund Endowment for three charities-Meals on Wheels, Girls, Inc., and Boy Scouts of America. John believed that giving back to the community is an important part of establishing a strong community spirit in Winter Haven.
John had a life-long love of aviation. He enjoyed sharing his aviation experience and was a leader in organizing reunions of flight instructors and students who were part of Bartow Air Force Base. He helped establish the Bartow Air Force Base historical museum that is located in the municipal terminal building at Bartow Airport. On December 7, 2013, John was awarded the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award by the Federal Aviation Administration. This award is the most prestigious award the FAA issues to pilots.
John is survived by his beloved fiancée, Tammy Barden; sons Craig (Traci) of Mancos, Colorado, John, Jr. (Lea Ann), Tom (Anne), and Paul, all of Winter Haven; grandson Thomas (Corissa) of Atlanta, Georgia; granddaughters Elizabeth Voss (Jeremy), Shannon Gosnell (Robbie), and Samantha Wood, all of Winter Haven, and granddaughters Malloy Lacktman (Nate) and Johanna Wood (Trevor), both of Tampa; 11 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
John was preceded in death by his wife, Ella, his father, Leonard and mother, Susan; his sister, Jean and his brothers, Lynn and Douglas.
A Celebration of Life Memorial Service will be held on Wednesday, May 22, 2019, at 5:30 pm at Heartland Church, 225 Ave B NW, Winter Haven, FL 33881. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Good Shepherd Hospice, 105 Arneson Avenue, Auburndale, FL 33823.
- Celebration of Life Wednesday, May 22, 2019
John G. Wood
June 7, 2019
Tom, John, Paul and Craig, I am just now aware of your Dad`s passing however remembering him (and your mother) so well growing up. What a life and value he brought to Winter Haven. Mike
May 30, 2019
It seems as though most of Winter Haven has John Sr.'s fingerprint upon it. That legacy will endure. May God Bless his family and those organizations that were dear to him.
May 25, 2019
John, Sr. became a very good friend to Judy and me. We had a connection because both of us lived in MN. I was proud to serve with John, Sr. on the HOA Master Board and enjoyed our breakfast meetings and occasionally dinner. He was an outstanding man with a strong personal personality who loved Cypresswood. I have lost a great friend.
George & Judy Haun
May 22, 2019
My condolences to the Wood family. He accomplished a lot during his life on earth. His works speak highly of the man he was to his family, friends, and community. Thank you Mr. Wood for your willingness to serve your country. You will be missed by many. May you rest in peace. Love, prayers and comfort to his family in the days to come.
Girls Inc. of Winter Haven
Margaret E. Curtis Clardy
May 21, 2019
Thank you Dear Sir for your heartfelt dedication to bringing so many accomplished pilots together for the annual Bartow Air Base reunions.
We know that our Father and others looked very forward to these reuniting events and sincerely appreciated your hard work and effort to make this happen for years.
May God Bless your sweet soul with peace and smile upon your beloved family and friends during this time of grave loss.
You shall be remembered for your good and honorable work and good deeds for others.
Margaret E. Curtis Clardy
Theresa M. Curtis Hoosier
William L. Curtis Jr. (Deceased)
Bartow Air Base
TWA/Saudi Arabian Airlines
Dr. Gordon Rafool
May 20, 2019
RIP John. You did so much for so many Thank you for all that you did for our community. Praying for all of your family in this the most difficult time of their lives. We all take solace in that we know that you are with the Lord. ✝️🙏🌹