Prince Variant - Boston Hash Founder
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Wood, Robert Thayer > MADISON WI
Beloved husband, father, brother, friend and mentor, Robert T. "Bob" Wood, left this earthly world ending his long and courageous battle with cancer, and entered into the glory of eternal life on Thursday, March 3, 2005. He leaves behind both a family that benefited from his love and wisdom, and a legacy of grit, determination, faith and courage that enriched and humbled all who knew him. Bob was born a fraternal twin on Jan. 17, 1939, in New York City. He and his twin, Michael, were the first of seven children born to Peter and Helen Wood, including Jim (Dawn) Wood, Angie (Dan) Williams, Julie (Dewitt) Strong, David (Tatjana) Wood and Christina Wood. He had five children with his former wife, Arleen Wood, including Elizabeth (Bill) Crawley, Peter (Silvia) Wood, John (Jennifer), Daniel Wood and Andrew (Raquel) Wood. And in 1978, he married "his sweetheart," Barbara, who was to be for more than a quarter of a century the happy, beautiful and deeply loved center of his life. Bob did not just embrace life, he grabbed it and dragged it (sometimes kicking and screaming) with him to the ideas, places, activities and people that interested him. After graduating from Culver Military Academy in 1956 and Phi Beta Kappa from Cornell University in 1960, he began his professional career as an accomplished artist in New York City, where at the early age of 22, he had earned a gallery showing that drew some interest. In 1962, he left the oils behind and enlisted in the United States Army. He was a gifted linguist in the Thai and Korean languages, and after serving his country in military intelligence for four years, he joined the United States State Department. Over the next 10 years, Bob served as a highly sought after economic and political officer in Thailand and Korea. He returned to the United States in 1976 to earn a master's degree in public affairs from Harvard University. In 1977 Bob returned to Wisconsin where he joined Wisconsin Physicians Service and enjoyed a long and rewarding career beginning as manager of public affairs. In 1984 he became director of corporate services, and in 1986 vice president of public relations. From 1994 until 2005 he served as corporate vice president, government relations. In these roles, Bob was known as the sort of thoughtful, innovative and dedicated expert that elected officials, journalists and academics rely on to sort out the complex issues that studded the health care field every year. He was appointed in spring 1988 to the state of Wisconsin Health Insurance Risk Sharing Plan Board of Governors where he was known as "the HIRSP expert," and was also an active member of the Financial Oversight Committee. He was recognized by both Governor Doyle and the Department of Health and Family Services in December 2004 for his outstanding contributions to the HIRSP Board of Governors. Bob was the current president of the Board of Wisconsin Association of Life and Health Insurance, and was additionally a member of the Association of Wisconsin Lobbyists. Bob was an intellectual, a romantic and a Renaissance man. He devoured books and newspapers, was an expert on health care issues, politics and international affairs, and had honed his research and writing skills to an awesome and intimidating level. But, he cherished with even greater intensity and sentiment the events that drew his siblings, children and grandchildren to his and Barbara's side where his first toast was always "To Family!" and no one left the house without hearing how much he loved "my Lady." For the last five years of his life those activities centered around his land in Iowa County and the incredible home he and Barbara designed and he and his son John built. Here in a structure faintly reminiscent of the medieval castles he admired, he loved his family, his God, his friends, his swords, his land and fought the cancer that kept trying to steal his life. In spite of the cancer, Bob was always in charge of his own destiny. Cancer tried for 20 years to destroy his courage. It tried to distract him from his family and friends, but Bob would have none of it. In the worst of times, Bob joined with us to laugh and argue, to run with his beloved Hash House Harriers, to hug and give us strength, to ride and jump bareback at the Vogel farm, to blaze trails on the hills at Castlewood and to regularly worship at the early morning service at Grace Episcopal Church, where he and Barbara served as chalice bearers, and where Bob was instrumental in starting the Healing Team. The warrior, who left us, lived life with zest and courage, standing and fighting bravely, and then resting comfortably and dying lovingly in the arms of his sweetheart, Barbara. Bob Wood was unique. He believed in a world of honor and integrity, a world where actions mattered and where there were codes of behavior that should be honored. He lived in that world and lived the life he wanted. We are better off for having had the privilege of sharing it with him. In addition to his wife; brothers; sisters; and children; Bob will be greatly missed by his eight much-loved grandchildren, including, Val, Del, Olivia, William, Alexander, John David, Joanna, and Grace; numerous nieces; nephews; and other relatives. Grateful thanks to Bob and Barbara's loving friend, Dr. Michael Frontiera, and the staff at Dean Clinic who provided Bob with inspiration, encouragement, and fine care throughout Bob's journey with cancer. There will be a visitation for friends and family at GUNDERSON WEST FUNERAL HOME, 7435 University Ave., Middleton, from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Sunday, March 6, 2005. Funeral services to honor Bob's life will be held at GRACE EPISCOPAL CHURCH, 116 W. Washington Ave., Madison, at 10 a.m. on Monday, March 7, 2005, with a luncheon following in the church guild hall. A graveside service will take place at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 8, 2005, at the St. Malachy's Cemetery on County Highway N, town of Clyde, with a luncheon following at Bob and Barbara's home, "Castlewood," 2850 County Highway I, town of Clyde. In lieu of flowers, memorials in Bob's name may be made to Grace Episcopal Church; St. Marys Hospital and Care Center Foundation; or the American Cancer Society. Bob framed his life with the following prayer by Nikos Kazantzakis and defined his life by the third prayer: Three kinds of souls, three prayers: "1. Lord, I am a bow in your hands, draw me lest I rot. 2. Lord, do not overdraw me, I shall break. 3. Lord, overdraw me and who cares if I break."

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