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Gary Wood

1944 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Gary Wood Obituary

Gary Wood, formerly of Cloudcroft, NM, passed away in Alamogordo on March 24, 2016, after battling a lifetime chronic illness. Gary was with his wife, Gloria, and son, Paul, in Casa Arena after a short stay in Gerald Champion Regional Hospital.

Gary Robert Wood was born Sept. 5, 1944, in South Bend, Indiana to Virgil Allison and Dietta Ruth Wood, who preceded their son in death. He married Gloria Chesnik in Lubbock, Texas, on October 18, 1979.

Gary is survived by two sisters, Alice Luker, Oceano, Calif; and DeeDee Reilly, Kent, Wash. He is also survived by various nieces and nephews including, Jon Luker and his family in Arroyo Grande, Calif; Scott Luker and his family in Henderson, Nev.; Todd Luker and his family Fresno, Calif.; and Bonnie Woods and her family in Orcutt, Calif. He is also survived by his son, Paul and Clare Chesnik, his grandchildren, Justin, Michael and Elizabeth and four great grandchildren, all of Charlestown, Md.

Gary went to schools in California and graduated with a Bachelor of Zoology from California State University, Long Beach. His lifelong interest in butterflies and beetles was the basis for his life's work throughout California, Arizona and New Mexico's art circuit where he was well known as the "Butterfly Man", exhibiting his unique butterfly and beetle art pieces, including jewelry out of butterfly wings and beetles. In years later, in the galleries that he and Gloria built in Cloudcroft, he continued his jewelry, silversmithing and metal sculpture work and became well known for his well-informed, scientifically correct displays. He also enjoyed the opportunity of teaching, taking his butterflies and beetles to the School for the Visual Handicapped and Cloudcroft schools to show the kids.

Gary was an influential presence in the small mountain community of Cloudcroft, serving on the Village Board of Trustees, Chamber of Commerce, the Otero County Electric Co-op and Kiwanis. He was named Citizen of the Year in 1987 by the Chamber of Commerce.

He enjoyed many interests, mostly chess and poker, the highlight of chess competition being the several times he beat Gov. Gary Johnston at matches in Cloudcroft and the many poker nights, 36 years worth, in Cloudcroft with his poker buddies. He also was deeply involved in writing a philosophy book and in later years had a monthly column on philosophy in the Mountain Monthly.
Gary and Gloria built several businesses in Cloudcroft in their years being active in the community including the Copper Butterfly, Mountain Foto, the Mountain Monthly newspaper, Gypsy's Wagon, Auntie Gloria's Fudge shop, the Whistlestop Ice Cream shop and Artisan Alley.

They retired in 2004 and moved to Alamogordo, closing out an era of community leadership and stewardship.

Friends and family will celebrate Gary's complete enjoyment of life on Wednesday, March 30, 2016, at Allen and Carol Henry's Cloudcroft home (MM26, Hwy 82 E) beginning at 5 p.m.

Please bring your memories and let us all enjoy one more time together.
Published in Alamogordo Daily News from Mar. 27 to Apr. 26, 2016
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