Donald Alan Hood, 67, Denver, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family on Sunday, December 30th. He was born February 1, 1945, to Kenneth and Jean (Cheyne) Hood in Vancouver, Washington. While attending school in Vancouver he excelled in community service, maintained outstanding academic leadership, earned scouting's highest awards of Eagle rank and God and Country Award, and achieved record settingathletic success. He performed his undergraduate studies in Oregon at Pacific University and completed his professional studies at Pacific University College of Optometry in 1968. Dr. Hood began his distinguished military service as the first parachute-qualified, combat-ready optometrist in US history, doing so in the Army 82nd Airborne Division at Ft. Bragg, NC. From 1970 to 1972 he served as the US Army's Chief of Eye Services in the Diplomatic Medical Mission in Bangkok, Thailand. He later served as Chief of Optometry, Section 5502 US Army Reserve Unit, at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center in Aurora until retirement. Dr. Hoodreturned to Thailand annually. In the 1980s, he traveled to Cambodian Refugee camps to assist with eye care,inspiring the sponsorship of a refugee family to his own home. In the 1990s he helped establish the first College of Optometry in Bangkok. His love of golf included playing on the US Army Golf Team and conquering golf courses all over the world. Dr. Hood retired as a Lieutenant Colonel with over 20 years of service to our country. In 1972 Dr. Hood started private practice in Aurora and founded Vision Care Specialists in 1974,while continuing to lecture nationally and internationally. His Vision Care Specialists practice grew to be the largest practice 0f its kind inthe region. In 1988 he co-founded Eye Health Network , providing quality improvement programs in health insurance on behalf of Optometry and Ophthalmology. In 2001 Dr. Hood and his associates pioneered the establishment of employee ownership in group practices, the first medical ESOP in the country. On September 3, 1977, he married Patricia (Trisha) Flueger. He enjoyed leading his family on memorable adventures, including camping, canoeing, exploring remote canyons, hut skiing, and captaining the Night Air on open ocean voyages. He embraced life through their world travels and through volunteering eye care services directly to the less fortunate. He also served on multiple boards, including the Colorado Optometric Association, AOA, American Heart Association, Chamber of Commerce , Knights of Columbus, Aurora Jaycees, and many more. He is survived by his wife, Patricia (Trisha); two children, daughter Chelsey (Ben) Russell of Denver and son Cayman of Denver; one granddaughter, Hayden Elaine Russell of Denver; and three brothers, Rick and Greg of Vancouver, WA, and Tim of Seattle, WA. He gave his family and friends the gift of PRESENCE, as a great Visionary, and a lover of life itself. A Celebration of Life will be held on Don's birthday, Friday, February 1st, 2013, at 2:00 p.m. at Mile Hi Church, 9077 W. Alameda Avenue Lakewood, CO 80226 Memorials may be made to Wounded Warrior Project or Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
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Published in www.denverpost.com on Jan. 13, 2013