Mr. Robert Allen Wood

  • Born: November 17, 1927
  • Died: December 11, 2019
  • Location: Topsfield, Massachusetts

Peterson-O'Donnell Funeral Home

Peterson-O'Donnell Funeral Home
167 Maple Street, Danvers, MA 01923
Tel. (978) 774-6600

Tribute & Message From The Family

Message From The Family

Thank you for your support during this difficult time. Please enhance this tribute to Bob by adding your memories and photos.

TOPSFIELD - Robert "Bob" Wood, 92, formerly of Topsfield, Dade City (FL), and Peabody, passed away peacefully and surrounded by loved ones on Wednesday, December 11, 2019. Born in Beverly, he was a 1945 graduate of Beverly HS. He was proud of his service in the US Navy as a submariner on the USS Cubera and later served as a Commander of the American Legion Post 255 in Topsfield. One of Bob's most cherished trips in recent years was participation in the Honor Flight to visit the war memorials in Washington DC. Bob was also just recognized for reaching his 70-year anniversary as a Mason, a membership that began with the New Meadows Lodge in Topsfield, and which eventually merged with the Budleigh Lodge of Beverly.

Upon his honorable discharge from the Navy, Bob spent time building fire engines for Wood Engineering Service, a family-owned business at 53 Main Street in Topsfield. He earned a degree at Wentworth Institute in Machine Construction and Tool Design, and subsequently moved on to a 30-year career at GTE Sylvania. First employed as a designer at the fluorescent light bulb plant on Sylvan Street, his focus eventually shifted to risk assessment and safety management, traveling to other plants on the East Coast to teach safety in manufacturing.

Bob joined the Topsfield Fire Department in 1952, which began decades of dedicated civic service to the town. He was appointed as the Civil Defense Director and played an important role in the formation of Topsfield's first Emergency Communications Center located in the Town Hall. As an early advocate in the initiative to train firefighters as first responders, he taught EMT classes and served as an official EMT Examiner. Prior to his retirement from the Fire Department in 1992, he was a Deputy Chief for over 20 years. Bob was also a member of the Congregational Church of Topsfield, where he sang in the choir and served as a moderator during the time of the major renovation that redesigned the chancel and relocated the pipe organ. Later in life, Bob was known to enjoy singing hymns and listening to classical music.

With a deep interest in communication and an affinity for all things electronic, "Woody" was an active amateur radio "ham" operator for many years. He owned the radio tower that became home to the 2-meter Repeater station bearing his call, W1VYI. As a member of the Pocahontas Radio Club, he took part in many annual Field Day events (contest of acquiring radio contacts worldwide), and he personally moderated the "net" (daily check-in of local hams). In the Blizzard of '78, Bob was one of the amateur radio operators who were communicating with and desperately trying to locate the ill-fated crew of the "Can Do" a Pilot Boat out of Gloucester during its attempted rescue of a Coast Guard cutter in raging seas.

Bob met and married the love of his life, Elizabeth Yates of Brockton, in 1951, celebrating 60 years together before her passing. While they chose Topsfield as the community in which to make their home and raise a close-knit family, from the honeymoon on, the house on "Breezy Point" in Round Pond, Maine, held an irresistible allure. Bob had a strong interest in genealogy, and they researched generations of Yates ancestors buried there. Bob and Betty were avid boaters, not only in the waters of Cape Ann, but also among the islands of mid-coast Maine's Muscongus Bay. Years later, when their days of boating became too risky, they took to the road in their Airstream motor home and visited every state but two in their travels. They made the Travelers Rest RV Resort in Dade City, Florida, their retirement home and also enjoyed trips to Nova Scotia, Germany and Ireland. In 2006 Betty and Bob they moved back to the North Shore and settled in at Brooksby Village in Peabody, where Bob continued to live after her passing until July of this year. His final home was at the Herrick House in Beverly.

Robert Allen Wood is preceded in death by his wife Elizabeth (Yates) Wood; his parents, Robert Many Wood and Marjorie Elizabeth (Brown) Wood, his sister Jean Marie (Wood) Gregory, and his sister-in-law Dorothea (Yates) Carlson. He is survived by one sister Dorothy May (Wood) Barton; his 5 children and their spouses Carolyn Ruth (Wood) Zelenka & Bernard Zelenka of Groveland; William Allen Wood & Pamela Wood of Dade City, Florida; Charles Brewster Wood & Christine Wood of Topsfield; Donald Yates Wood & Andrea Wood of Topsfield; and Deborah Jean (Wood) Macklin & Richard Macklin of Damascus, Maryland. In addition, his niece Nancy (Miller) Paskowski, nephew David Miller, his 14 grandchildren Adam Zelenka, Abby Zelenka, Robert K. Wood, Kristen Wood, Jennifer (Wood) Cook, Carrie (Wood) Lang, Lindsay (Wood) Decareau, Chelsea Wood, Jonathan Wood, Danielle Wood, Rachel (Macklin) Chavis, Joseph Macklin, Michael Macklin and Timothy James "TJ" Macklin; and his 10 great-grandchildren Emily Wood, Nicole Wood, Colin Cook, Hazel Lang, Maisie Lang, Elsie Lang, Gavin Decareau, Gabrielle Decareau, Gracelyn Decareau, and Madison Wood, with whom he shared an especially close bond. The family would like to thank his numerous friends and caregivers at Brooksby Village, Herrick House and Ledgewood.

ARRANGEMENTS: Robert's memorial service will be held at the Congregational Church of Topsfield, 9 E Common Street, on Saturday, December 21st at 11:00 A.M. with a reception to follow at the Emerson Center. Visiting hours in the Peterson-O'Donnell Funeral Home, 167 Maple St., (Rte. 62) Danvers on Friday, December 20th from 5 to 7 P.M. In lieu of flowers, donations in Robert's memory would be gratefully received by the Topsfield Firefighters Relief Association, 27 High Street, Topsfield, MA, 01983. To share a memory or offer a condolence, please visit