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Columbia Missourian

Carmen Wood remembered as passionate reader, active in faith

By Catherine Rolwes
November 5, 2012 | 6:27 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Carmen Shaw Wood's earliest memory was her first book. 

It was a simple ABCs book that an aunt, Neale McClish, gave to her in the early 1920s. McClish would read it to her and then help her put it away in a round-top trunk lined with pink roses so her brothers couldn't get their hands on it. 


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That book was the first of many in Mrs. Wood's life.

Mrs. Wood died Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012. She was 95. 

She was born Sept. 2, 1917, in Columbia t0 Willie and Florence Shaw.

Mrs. Wood graduated salutatorian of the Hickman High School class of 1935.

"That was an early achievement in her academics," Amanda Atkins, her granddaughter, said. "She did so many things, but she was never boastful about anything."

Mrs. Wood was awarded a scholarship to what is now Stephens College but decided she needed to go to work instead because of the Great Depression. 

In high school, a boy at church choir practice asked her to go see a "picture show," Caryl Bryan, her daughter, said. Mrs. Wood responded that she needed to ask her mother. That boy, Glenn Wood, later became her husband.  

Mrs. Wood's passion for reading made her a good fit for a job at the Daniel Boone Regional Library. She started working at the library after she retired in 1981 from the MU  College of Agricultural Engineering, where she served as a department secretary. 

"She saw so many department heads come and go that we used to joke she pretty much ran the department," Bryan said.

Mrs. Wood had strong faith and was active in her church, Wilkes Boulevard United Methodist Church. She taught adult Bible study and Sunday school, was a certified lay speaker and served as president of a Methodist women's group.

"She had her hand in a little bit of everything that was going on," Atkins said. 

In 1974, Mrs. Wood served as president of the Rebekah Assembly of Missouri, an international service-oriented organization. 

She was also a master crossword puzzler.

Mrs. Wood is survived by her four children, Jerry Wood and his wife, Martha, of Rogers, Minn., Phil Wood and his wife, Barbara, of Columbia, Caryl Bryan and her husband, Jim, of Columbia, and Cathy Bigger and her husband, Jack, of Athens, Ohio; her grandchildren, Jeff and Fran Wood, Janey and John Belde, Andy and Erin Bryan, Matt and Kim Wood, Stephanie Bryan, Amanda and Brad Atkins, Brad Bryan and Brynn Hamilton, and Nathan and Krista Bigger; and 13 great-grandchildren. 

Her husband, Glenn Wood, and six brothers and sisters died earlier. 

Visitation will be from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Wednesday at Wilkes Boulevard United Methodist Church. Services will follow at the church. Burial will follow in Columbia Cemetery.

Mrs. Wood's family encourages those in attendance to wear purple, her favorite color. 

Condolences can be posted at