William Boyd Wood, age 78, passed away peacefully in his Nashville residence surrounded by family on March 21, 2020 after a valiant battle against cancer. Boyd was known for his hard work ethic, meticulous attention to detail, devoted husband, and supportive father. He is survived by his brother Keith Wood and wife Deborah, sister Gale Collins, daughters Karen Garner and husband Jeff, and Joy Jarman and husband Neil, granddaughter Paige Winders and husband Rusty, great grandson Jack, grandsons William Garner, Joshua, Caleb, and David Jarman, two nieces Dana Wood Bryant and husband Stan, and Melissa Cook, great nephews Wood and Barrett Bryant, and second wife Helen Ayers Wood.
Due to our current unsettling circumstances and in order to protect the health of friends and family, sadly, we will not be able to hold a traditional memorial service. We are heartbroken to not be able to personally greet family and friends at this time, share hugs of loss and sorrow, and rejoice in the exchange of past memories special to each of you. Although this week had its share of emotional ups and downs, it will mostly be remembered as a huge blessing that we were able to spend his last days together. We invite you to take time to read the full “In Memory Message” below and watch the Memorial Slide show in lieu of a Memorial Service. Even though we aren’t able to see you face to face, we invite you to share your favorite memories on the Facebook link below or reach out to the family with a personal message.
Boyd was born on June 12, 1941 in Nashville N.C to the late Wilson and Jane Wood. He was the Big Brother to his two siblings Keith and sister Gale. He grew up learning hard work at an early age and passed that “hard work ethic” down to us. Karen and I always loved when Uncle Keith came to visit and share some of their “younger days” mischief and adventure stories. Although the siblings were all 9 years apart, they have stayed close to this day. Dad attended Nashville High School where he met our mom Jean Settle. After a short stent in the National Reserves, he returned home and married his High School sweetheart Frances Jean Settle on October 1, 1961. They settled in Kinston, NC where he got a job working for Carolina Telephone where he worked even beyond retirement of 40 years of service. He was affectionately called “Peanut” by his colleagues and had a special friendship with those guys beyond retirement. Dad continued his hard work ethic and the desire to have everything he touched to be “just right”. He was meticulous in taking care of his yard, his home, and loved making things out of wood. He was a wonderful provider for our family. Growing up, I remember him as a man of few words, yet just one look in our direction and Karen and I always knew real quick when we were in trouble. Just this past week we were reminiscing about all the times Karen got all the spankings in our younger days, but it was my (Joy) teenage years that caused most of his gray hair.
As I am typing, Karen just sent over a picture of one of Dad’s favorite work shirts with the sleeves cut out. He had to have worn that same shirt for 30 plus years. Dad wasn’t a big man, but as a little girl, I remember his muscular, strong arms and how Uncle Keith always bragged on my dad being able to do 100 pullups in his younger years. I think many of us would agree Dad could be hardheaded at times but I also believe that trait helped him battle and triumph over his first battle with cancer back in 1999.
Dad always liked working on things, around the house, in the yard, etc. I remember one time he brought home the ugliest, most dilapidated old camper we had ever seen. We were all thinking what in the world are you going to do with that thing, but he put in weeks of hard work and practically got that thing looking brand new and sparked one of mom and dad’s favorite pastimes going to the beach every chance they got.
Over the next 20 years mom and dad travelled all over the US in which Karen and I will treasure the shelves full of photo albums mom kept of all their adventures.
Mom and Dad celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary in October of 2011. When mom’s health started to fail, he lovingly stayed by her side until her passing in 2013. Although Mom’s passing was very hard on all three of us, it also created new blessings by opening up a whole new depth to our relationship with dad. Karen and I grew up close to mom, but not until she passed did we start to connect with dad in new ways. Another huge blessing that came after mom’s passing was Dad’s salvation. For years we had been praying for Dad’s salvation and one day that prayer was answered by one of his good friends and breakfast buddies named Red. Red had been inviting Dad to church for a while and after mom’s passing, Dad finally took him up on his offer and attended the Gospel Baptist Church in Kinston. He quickly became a regular and eventually accepted the Lord as his savior. We will forever be grateful for Red, Pastor Mike Parker, and his new church family.
In the summer of 2017, Dad attended his annual High School reunion in Nashville where he reconnected with a high school classmate and old friend Helen Ayers Rackley. Their friendship flowered into a new blessing and they married in June of 2018. Honestly, Karen and I were a little slow in welcoming this “new” relationship that came with a whole new family along with it and the move back to Nashville, but Karen and I have grown to love Helen and the positive influence and love she shared with Dad. Her (large) family smothered Dad with love and care that we will forever be connected to now. We are thankful for their love and support they showed him, his sister Gale, and Karen and I.
We want to say a heartwarming thank you to our Aunt Gale who thankfully lived close by and took Dad and Helen under her wing and provided much needed support and love. We want to thank the Nash General Hospice center for all their care and support this week as we all worked together to ensure Dad’s final days on earth were as peaceful as possible. We are also grateful to Dad’s newer church family Nashville Baptist Church for their prayers, love, and support to Dad and Helen this past year and ongoing.
As hard as these past few weeks were on us we are thankful for the blessings that we are left with. We are grateful Keith and Deborah were able to come visit before his health took a dramatic turn. What a blessing when Paige came to be with us on his final “good day” and give him a haircut, he was so handsome. This past week, under unprecedented circumstances, allowed so many distractions to be stripped away from Karen and I in order to fully focus on Dad and caring for him. On my way home from leaving Nashville after Dad’s passing, I was driving home listening to the radio when at 5:17am the song “I can Only Imagine” came on the radio. As I turned the volume up, tears started to flow that represented sadness but also joy as I sang along to the words. I had used this song as the background to my mom’s memorial slide show. Hearing that song, at that moment, I believe was God’s reassurance to me that even though the world is crazy right now, and scary right now, and I am grieving in so many ways right now, He is still sovereign, He is still Good, and He has now welcomed my Dad home with him and reunited with my mom once again. What a blessing!
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Even though you can’t be with us in person, thank you for being a part of our Dad’s life. Hugs (from a distance) to you all.
Joy & Karen
P.S. Thank you to those who have already reached out to us. Karen and I will be at Dad’s home in Kinston Saturday, March 28th from 12-5pm if you would like to stop by for a visit or if you’d rather send a message or share a personal memory, please mail to 200 Lake Ridge Drive, Goldsboro, NC 27530.
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