John Wesley Wood was born on June 2,1934, to Mary Belle and Devette Wood in Haw River, North Carolina. John Wesley (as he was called by his family and friends) was the youngest of four children.
John Wesley was an extremely friendly and fun-loving child. Though his father died when John Wesley was a young teen, he had a carefree and optimistic personality similar to that of his mother, Mama Belle. John Wesley also attributed this positive attitude and spirited outlook to his “Huck Finn-type” upbringing in rural North Carolina. Though raised in an old,Haw River school house surrounded by tobacco fields, bootleggers and moonshiners, John never drank or smoked a day in his life.
John attended and graduated from Haw River High School. He excelled at football (before face masks were invented!), boxing and track. Though small and skinny, he was fast and agile. He also learned to play the drums and played in a local band. This started his love affair with music and dancing.
John joined the Navy in 1953 and was honorably discharged in 1957. This is what brought him to San Diego. Of course, when the Navy said he would be stationed “on an island,” John thought he was going to Hawaii. “The island” ended up being North Island, Coronado! But John fell in love with San Diego and made it his home and raised his family here. John Wood loved his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. He enjoyed sports and served as a baseball coach for his children and grandchildren. He was also an avid golfer.
John worked as a transportation and logistics supervisor for Teledyne Ryan Aeronautical and General Dynamics for over 30 years. Additionally, he was a part-time professional photographer for 10 years. He was the local representative for Cardinal Container for a number of years. John finished his working life as a golf course marshal at Admiral Baker Golf Course.
Aside from his family, John Wood’s true joys were music and dancing. John loved listening to ALL types of music. His true passion was dancing, which he inherited from his mother, Mama Belle. He even taught briefly for the Arthur Murray Dance Studios and was willing to teach anybody to dance anywhere, anytime! He lived to dance and had the ability to dance to a myriad of dance styles. But his favorite was western swing dancing. Many East County dancers and friends remember John Wood as the gifted, fun-loving and smiling “Dancing Cowboy.”
John passed suddenly on December 31, 2022. He is survived by his children John, Jeff, Sheila and Mark; his grandchildren Jeffrey, Brittany, Wesley and JJ; and his great grandchildren Hudson, Austin, Hannah, Olivia and an expected great grandson arriving in July. John’s son, James, passed away in February 2021.
John Wood’s memorial service will be held on Friday, February 24 at Miramar National Cemetery (5795 Nobel Drive, San Diego, 92122). The processional to the service site will begin promptly at 12:30 PM.