Merlyn Alva Wood, 85, died peacefully at home in Columbia, MO on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. Graveside services will be held at a later date with internment in Chariton Cemetery, Chariton, IA .

He was born May 13, 1936 in Chariton, IA to Alver Blair and Hazel Alta (McLure) Wood. With his twin sister Marilyn, he attended Pleasant Praire School near Belinda, IA where their mother was an excellent teacher. Graduating in 1954 from Chariton High School, he played football and baseball and was a member of the Belinda Softball Team with his good friend Fred Bankus.

After playing football at Parsons College, Fairfield, IA, he graduated in 1960 from the University of Iowa with a degree in Math and Liberal Arts. He then served with the U. S. Army as an Artillary Surveyor at Fort Sill, OK.

He worked as West Coast Field Editor for Charles E. Merrill Publishing Company residing in San Francisco where he interviewed prospective authors for college textbooks. Upon retirement, he became a keen fly fisherman and kept a cabin at Bennett Springs State Park, Lebanon, MO for 25 years and fished twice a year in Florida. An avid reader, he was never without a book. An intelligent conversationalist with a modest manner, sweet smile and deep melodious voice, he will be missed by all and especially by “Gracie” and “Maxey.” He never liked conflict and tried his best to give everyone a fair hearing. He was baptized at Belinda (IA) Christian Church and attended Columbia (IA) Methodist Church and First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, MO.

Survivors include his beloved companion and soul mate of 30 years Mary Jo Roberts of Columbia, MO; twin sister Marilyn Nora Ortale, Atlanta, GA; brother-in-law Richard P. Carroll, Jefferson City, MO; nephews and nieces: Rick Carroll, Estero, FL; Lori Carroll Hoover, Ballwin. MO; Steven Ortale, Detroit, MI; Gina Ortale Cullen and Michael Ortale, both of Atlanta, GA.

Preceded in death by his parents, infant brother and sister Jesse Cumelene Carroll.

Special thanks to Donna and Connie and the rest of the staff of Phoenix Hospice for their kind care.

Memorial contributions suggested to Columbia Cemetery Fund, Columbia, IA ; charity of ones choice or just give a kind act to one’s neighbor.

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