Robert Alden Wood of Ely passed away peacefully with his loving family at his side on his 94th birthday, February 26, 2021.
Bob was born in Hillman, MN and grew up on his family’s farm there. He attended school and church, learned to grow large vegetable gardens, to milk cows, to love John Deere tractors and Fords, and to swim and play in the Skunk Creek with his many siblings. He left The Wood Family Farm at age 18 when he was drafted into the US Army, and he served in California and Alaska as WWII came to an end, learning and working with heavy equipment maintenance. After his service he did ranch work in Montana with his brothers before moving to Ely to work for Longyear Drilling, and eventually for Reserve Mining Company in the Babbitt mine until its closure.
As a young bachelor in Ely, Bob took many of his meals at the Voyager Cafe, where he met the young Shirley Lobe as she served dinners and waited on tables. Bob and Shirley married on June 2, 1956 at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Ely and thus began their life together. Bob built the family home on East Camp Street with the help of his good friends, and then he and Shirley settled in, raised their three children, and retired there.
Bob was known for his quiet smile, great dignity, and steadfast work. Always tinkering, fixing, recycling, repurposing, composting, growing, weeding, mowing, painting, bike-riding, weather-watching, or bird-watching ... his mind was always pondering the next chore or interesting task. Bob loved fixing cars and shared that love with his sons as he very patiently taught them to be excellent mechanics as well. He kept a close protective eye on his “Daddy’s Little Girl” but warmed quickly to his son-in-law to-be once he discovered their shared love for airplanes.
Bob always stopped to offer a “Hi-ya” or some gardening advice or a chuckle to a neighbor or a passerby. He would drop anything to visit with his kids or a relative or friend, or offer a warm lap or freshly picked radish or carrot to his grandkids, and then his great grandkids too!
Bob was an animal lover, but truly passionate about dogs of all kinds, and his grand and neighbor dog visits were always a favorite happy time for him. Bob grew fantastic vegetables in his garden but truly had the very best beet patch ever year after year. He loved his homegrown corn on the cob, and also walleye dinners and watermelon and strawberry shortcake, and always a good slice of pizza with a nice cold beer, topped off with a good chocolate ice cream right out of the carton ... eaten with a fork!
Bob is survived by his wife Shirley (Charlotte), his son Dan Wood of Ely, his daughter and son-in-law Barb and Rich Kuzma of Eagan MN, his son and daughter-in-law Brian and Kim Wood of Eagan MN; his grandchildren Mandy (Andy) Wineberg, Jill (Derek) Brown, Jordan (Krista) Kuzma, Daniel (Mary) Wood, Sara (Dan) MacCoy, and Louisa Wood; his great-grandchildren Henry and Jack Wineberg, Evan Wood, Aspen MacCoy, Emmett Brown, Eleanor Kuzma, Ace MacCoy, William Brown, and Charlotte Kuzma; his brothers Harry (Clarice) Wood of Anchorage, AK and John Wood of Rudyard, MT; many cousins, nieces and nephews and friends.
Bob was preceded in passing by his parents Daniel Lee and Mildred May (Logan) Wood, his sisters Florence, Hazel and Dorothy, and his brothers Milton, Charles, Merle, Richard and James.
The family wishes to acknowledge and appreciate stellar care and support from the Boundary Waters Care Center, Northwood Partners, and Dr. Joe Schwinghamer.
A summertime memorial gathering will be planned in Ely. Family arrangements have been entrusted to Kerntz Funeral Home of Ely.
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