A character, but in a good way
August 28, 2013One of Valley Center's originals, Pete Wood, died Tuesday from a very aggressive form of leukemia-lymphoma. He was 85.
He had been admitted to the UCSD Medical Center late last week, causing friends and family to rally around him as he prepared for his last fight.
Reader's Digest used to publish a series called "My Most Unforgettable Character." If I were able to write one of those, Pete Wood would be on my list. Wood was a character, but in the good sense of the word. He could be described as an "enthusiast," who was as much a scholar about things that interested him, such as the history of aeronautics, or the history of the Rose Parade, or Palomar Observatory or UFOs as he was a casual collector of interesting facts and data. You name it and Pete Woods's endlessly curious mind might have led to his collecting books and articles on it.
In the Maltese Falcon, the character of Kaspar Gutman remarks, "I am a man who likes talking to a man who likes to talk."
Pete Wood understood that sentiment very well. And so did anyone who talked with him. He was a visionary and to talk to him was to open your mind to the many possibilities open to the human mind and spirit. He frequently suggested article ideas to me.
It was my pleasure to have known Wood for many years and to have enjoyed having fast-paced conversations with him, or to have just sat back and listened.
When you visited his house he would always have some interesting guest on tap. Like the guest host of some late night talk show that specialized in the paranormal (you know which one I mean), or a roving editor for some high powered magazine — like Reader's Digest. Pete was stimulating and he liked to be stimulated.
I know I'm doing a disservice to his career, which I know was immersed in civil aeronautics, but hopefully I will get to cover that when his daughters, Wenthy and Terry, get a chance to gather some of his papers together and help me write something more fitting.
His daughter Terry tells me there will likely be no services. "My dad avoided funerals and memorials," she said. "As he wished, we will eventually place his ashes with my mom, his beloved, who is buried in our hometown in Pennsylvania. By his sisters, mom, dad, aunts and uncles. We will make that a family celebration."