Carl Orville “Bill” Wood, 87, died Friday, Oct. 12, 2007, at Peace Hospice in Great Falls where he was recently diagnosed with cancer.
Graveside services with burial of ashes will be at 1 p.m. Oct. 20, at the Mountainview Cemetery in Ronan. A reception will follow. Bill was born June 19, 1920, in Alma. He was one of nine children born to Jacob Earl Wood and Bertha Claire Wilson. Bill grew up in the community north of Joplin and received his formal education in Joplin. In 1936, he moved to Charlo, where he worked as a farm laborer to help with the family finances. Bill married Violet Blanche Lyon on July 5, 1941, in Shelby. During the next few years he worked on the Colbry farm north of Chester and the West ranch near Charlo. In 1943, he went to Vancouver, Wash. To work in the shipyards for the Kaiser Company. While there Bill enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He served during World War II in the American Campaign, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign, and the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign. He was stationed aboard the U.S.S. Kasaan Bay where he attained the rank of Radarman Second Class. Following his honorable discharge in November 1945, he returned to Montana. Bill worked many jobs during the next 40 years. From 1946- 1950 he was employed by various Hi-Line farmers. In 1950, he became the manager of the Farmer’s Union Station in Joplin. In addition he hauled machinery for McClellan Implement over the course of 20 years and drove local school buses for many years. From 1963-1967 he worked on the Liberty County road crew. In 1970, the Wood family bought the Husky Gas Station in Joplin. Several years later a Liberty County commissioner convinced Bill to go back to work for the road department. He accepted the job as road foreman, a position he held for eight years beginning in 1975. Bill had been employed by Liberty County for a total of 13 years at the time of his retirement. During his working years in Joplin, Bill served on the school board at J.H.S. and the board of the Hill County Water District. He was also an active member of the V.F.W. Post in Chester, where he assisted with many veteran’s ceremonies and military color guards over the years. Following his retirement in 1983, Bill and Violet moved to Lakeside. It was there that his dreams came true. He could fish,fish and fish to his heart’s content. He was affectionately known as “Captain of Flathead Lake” by his family and close friends. He loved to share his time and his home with anyone who stopped to visit. He enjoyed a good barbecue or a fun outing on the lake. He was the master of a special homemade Tom and Jerry’ batter, which became his famous New Year’s toddy. Bill also loved to play solitaire and cribbage. His family proclaims that he was undoubtedly “the world’s all-time cribbage champion,” having won well over a million games of cribbage during his life! Even after he suffered from macular degeneration and became legally blind, he still continued to win at cribbage and always knew if a sneaky opponent was trying to cheat him. In addition to playing cards, Bill also enjoyed those exciting trips to Las Vegas, where he loved to play the slot machines. He was happy to live his life without that “dang TV”! In his quiet hours at home he enjoyed reading Zane Grey books. After his eyesight failed, he enjoyed books-on-tape by Louis L’Amour. Family was very important to Bill. He loved his grandchildren and often bought their first outfits for the new school year. He enjoyed traveling to California to visit his sons and families. Always a devoted family man, he loved their company and sharing stories with them. Bill and Violet had been married 48 years when she passed away June 24, 1989. Bill remained in Lakeside until his health began to fail in 2003, when he moved to Fort Benton to be close to his daughter and family. Bill was preceded in death by his wife; parents, and brothers, Tom, Charles and Lewis Wood; and sisters, NanOra Eldridge and Hazel Zeiler. He is survived by his two sons, Don (Jan) Wood of San Ramon, Calif. And Mike (Hollie Wells) Wood of Kalispell; his daughter, Carla (Dennis) Ghekiere of Great Falls; two brothers, Harold “Nick” Wood of Payson, Ariz. And Forrest “Pork” Wood of Boise, Idaho; one sister, Edna Duncan of Lakeside; seven grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and many nephews and nieces. Cremation and arrangements are by Rockman Funeral Chapel of Chester.