Stan Wood loved the medieval era, friends and the army

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 | 6:27 p.m. CDT; updated 7:11 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, March 19, 2014

COLUMBIA — Elbert Stanley "Stan" Wood's fascination with the medieval world never ceased.

Mr. Wood was a long-time member and participant of the Society of Creative Anachronism, an international organization aimed at recreating "the best parts of the middle ages," according to the Columbia chapter's website. Along with the society, Mr. Wood pursued his medieval interests through literature and the "Dungeons and Dragons" games.

His father, W. Raymond Wood, remembered a time after college when he made his own suit of chain mail from scraps for one of the society’s events.

"I don’t know how long it took him to do it, but he did it," Wood said. "And then he and his friends would go out and beat each other with wooden swords."

Elbert Stanley "Stan" Wood died from liver failure at Landmark Hospital on Sunday, March 16, 2014. He was 55.

He was born Oct. 12, 1958, in Montrose, Colo., but he spent most of his life in Columbia. He graduated from Hickman High School in 1977. He served in the U.S. Army and the National Guard  for nine years, and received the Command Sergeant Major’s Award for Excellence and the Army Achievement Medal twice. He left military service in 1992.

"He said he kind of enjoyed boot camp," his father said. "He just rolled with it and enjoyed it."

Jim Meyer, Mr. Wood’s college roommate and friend in the army, remembered being in ROTC classes with him at MU. They met at an Army Reserve drill in Jefferson City, where Mr. Wood was Meyer’s section sergeant. Although Mr. Wood was never enrolled in the ROTC program, he was an excellent leader and a wonderful friend, Meyer said.

"He was the kind of person who would always help somebody," Meyer said. "He was free with his time, and he would teach you."

Mr. Wood earned a bachelor's degree in geography from MU in 1991, during which time he also developed a Geographic Information System for the Missouri Archaeological Survey. After college, he worked for the Geographic Resources Center at MU, and then for Schuyler House.

He asked for medical leave from Schuyler House a month before his death. His coworkers regularly visited him in the hospital, his father said.

Mr. Wood worked on-and-off as a cook and kitchen manager at The Heidelberg in high school and into the 1980s. He was also a cook at Ernie’s Café and Steak House in college.

Hardworking. Goofy. Fun. These are the words that Rusty Walls, current manager at The Heidelberg and a former co-worker, used to describe Mr. Wood.

"When I was a kid, he tried to throw me in the Dumpster," Walls said. "He was a big guy. But he was just goofing around."

Mr. Wood was also the head of the Derelicts, a society that he and some friends formed to celebrate the memory of an unnamed deceased friend, his father said.

Mr. Wood is survived by his parents, Bonnie H. Heidy and W. Raymond Wood, both of Columbia; his brothers, D. Eric Wood and John Heidy, both of Columbia; his sisters, Marigene Holtkamp and Karla Koskela, both of Columbia, Patty Wakeland of Texas, and Deidre Forster of Nebraska.

Visitation will be from 11 a.m. to noon Saturday, at Parker Funeral Service & Crematory, 22 N. Tenth St. Services will follow at the same location.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Stan Wood Memorial Fund, which will be used to purchase a bench in his memory.

Condolences can be left at

Supervising editor is Elise Schmelzer.

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