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February 8, 2006

Gene Wood

Gene Wood has always been a man's man, but he had enough chutzpah to charm the socks off many a local maiden. I had the good fortune to work with him vocationally and professionally. Yet, somehow I know that I never did get to know him, and as far as I know that was how the game should be played.

Gene was the coach of a super-successful kid's baseball team here one summer and he welcomed all comers, long as they did not affect his team's eligibility. He was chief of the city police department after his tenure at the sheriffs office was over. He put many bad men in jail, and turned many of them away from a life of crime. He knew everyone.

When someone needed a bunch of kids or grownups for a particular chore, they turned to Gene. He knew how much leverage would be needed for each one, so they asked Gene for his service. He always remembered where the skeletons were stashed, and he knew what it would take to make them workers for that cause.

For years he has been part of the backbone of the local Presbyterian church, the Democrat party and the Lions Club, not necessarily in that order. But he has always known how to make things grow, and I'm not talking about garden plants. He'd appreciate a call or a brief rap on the door of his room at Perry Memorial. Go by and see him someday when you have a few minutes.