Cover photo for Robert A. Wood, III's Obituary
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Robert A. Wood, III

September 4, 1939 — April 12, 2024

Shaker Heights, OH

Robert A. Wood, III

Robert A. Wood, III was born on September 4, 1939 at University Hospital in Cleveland, the eldest of three sons born to Robert A. Wood Jr. and Dorothy L. (Pete) Jewitt Wood.  Bob's dad was in the Navy during the war and later worked as a salesman for "Snap-apart Forms".  His mom graduated with her master's in social work from the School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University but then stayed home to raise her sons.  During the war, Bob, his mom, and Steve traveled with his dad, living for a while in a tiny attic apartment in Boston.  He said that his earliest childhood memory was stabbing the landlord’s “priceless” oil painting of “Custer’s Last Stand” and “got my fanny paddled big time”.

 

Bob’s lifelong sense of adventure was already apparent at a young age.  When he was four or five, his mom sent him to school in a taxi forgetting that school was closed for a holiday.  Upon finding that the doors were locked, Bob was not deterred.   He decided to use the day happily exploring the city of Boston on his own until his frantic mother found him late in the afternoon by the swan boats.  

 

When Bob’s dad, also a Naval Officer, was deployed to the Pacific, Pete, Bob and Steve returned to live with his grandparents Charles and Florence Jewitt in Gates Mills.  Their home was spacious, and although they missed their dad, they lived comfortably.  After the war, the family moved to St. Louis where Bob attended Country Day Academy and his family welcomed their youngest son Charlie. He said his parents would “shoo” them out of the house in the morning, telling them to go play and not come home until it was dark, and they would have such fun! When he took Zoe to St Louis to visit on his 70th birthday he could still remember where he played wall ball for hours. At the age of 10, Bob also loved taking the streetcar to see the Cardinals games on his own. One of the things from his time in St. Louis that wasn’t quite as fun was having to go to dance classes and to learn to be a “gentleman”.

 

Bob’s family moved back to Ohio settling in Bath where he attended Revere High School graduating from a class of 69 in 1957. His favorite subjects were English and History; he was very active in drama and theater and played at least one year of football. His classmates described him as being a great guy with a wry, quirky sense of humor.  He credits his high school English teacher Mrs. Bruner with teaching him to use critical thinking to solve problems.

 

From high school, Bob took a huge leap to the University of Michigan!  It was a rough transition.  After a one-year detour at Dennison, he went back to U of M (Go Blue!).   As you might expect, he threw himself in headfirst and was active on the debate team, theater, student government, the Glee Club, and was the social chairman of his fraternity, Delta Upsilon.   He buckled down on his studies and graduated from UM in 1961. 

 

Bob spent high school and college summers as a counselor at Camp Kennebec in northern Maine where he was able to indulge his love for the outdoors.  

 

After college, Bob joined the Navy where he served 3 ½ years on the Providence in the Mediterranean and the Intrepid in the Pacific and had adventures around the world.  While on the Intrepid he was part of the crew that picked up Gus Grissom and John Young in their space capsule in 1965.  He later joined the Naval Reserves where he served in the JAG corps for another 18 years achieving the rank of Commander before retiring.  

 

Bob married his first wife Dorita and lived in Cleveland while he attended Cleveland Marshall School of Law at night and worked for Traveler’s Insurance during the day.  They moved to Connecticut after graduating, passing two bar exams on the first try, and later had two children, Melissa and Greg.  While living in Connecticut Bob had his own law practice, enjoyed hiking in the White Mountains, and spent many hours in activities for Indian Guides and Indian Princesses with his children.

 

Bob moved to Virginia in 1990 and there met Zoe, the love of his life.  They quickly connected over their passions for hiking, music, and travel, and married in 1992 at Old Donation Episcopal Church in Virginia Beach.   Bob “dragged Zoe kicking and screaming” from the warm Virginia weather to Cleveland in 1993 when he became Claims Counsel for Midland Title Insurance. They settled in Shaker Heights and were blessed to become parents of their three daughters Liana, Ashley, and Cara.  Their years together were full of fun and adventure, building a family based on trust and love, and helping each person find their own sense of purpose.  They had wonderful family vacations to the Outer Banks, New England, Michigan, the West and Northwest, Disney, and the Islands.  They always were together for Christmas; Bob went to nearly every one of the girls’ games and to all other important events; and loved nothing more than to share a family meal, watch a funny movie, listen to great music, engage in deep conversations, or to walk through the woods. 

 

Bob was an active member of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, in Cleveland, OH serving on the vestry and helping to start the Cathedral’s Stephen Ministry program. For a time, he and Zoe also worshipped at Christ Church in Shaker Heights, OH. 

 

In the way he lived his life, Bob taught all who knew him about kindness, love, adventure, curiosity, faithfulness, courage, laughter, integrity, respect, commitment, quirkiness, trust, advocating for the “underdog”, and caring for others.  He has touched so many and will lives on in through his love.  In the words of one of his favorite songs, “because we knew him, ... because we knew him,…. we have been changed for good.”  


Robert A. Wood, III, age 84 of Shaker Hts., OH. Beloved husband of Zoe Wood (nee Pantelakis); loving father of Liana Wood of Hyde Park, NY, Ashley Wood of Baltimore, MD, Cara Wood of Shaker Hts., Melissa Ingalls (Jason) and Greg Wood of Charlottesville, VA; dear brother of Steven Wood (Linda) of Albuquerque, NM. The family prefers that those who wish may make contributions in his name to Trinity Cathedral Episcopal Church, 2230 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44106, where a Celebration of Robert’s Life will be held at 1pm on Tuesday, April 23.

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Starts at 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

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