Wooding, Rear Admiral Robert Reynolds
born October 3, 1916 - deceased April 11, 2012. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 3, 1916, Robert R. Wooding is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Class of 1940, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. After two years aboard the battleship USS TENNESSEE that included being aboard during the attack at Pearl Harbor, then Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Wooding was reassigned to the Civil Engineer Corps and attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. He received the Bachelor and Master of Civil Engineering degrees from RPI. Subsequent duty assignments included, Executive Officer of the 143rd Naval Construction Battalion on Samar, and Senior Assistant Public Works Officer on the Staff, Commander Naval Operating Base, Leyte, Samar. He was then assigned as Assistant Resident Officer in charge of Construction and Public Works Officer, Green Cove Springs Naval Station, Florida, and was engaged in the design and construction of Reserve Fleet piers (11) and support facilities. He was a Lieutenant Commander in January 1949 when he returned to the U.S. Naval academy as an instructor and taught college physics for four years. After two years at Argentia, Newfoundland as Public Works Officer, and another two years as Executive Officer, Naval Construction Battalion Center, Davisville, Rhode Island, he became Resident Officer in charge of Construction, Bureau of Yards and Docks Contracts, Meridian, Mississippi engaged in the design and construction of an entirely new Naval Auxiliary Air Station for jet training. With his Meridian tour completed, he was assigned to Washington, D.C. as director, Maintenance Division, Bureau of Yards and Docks and assisted in the development of the Navy's Maintenance and Utilities Management programs. He served in this post until March 1961. The then Captain Wooding was reassigned to Newport Rhode Island where he served as Commanding Officer, Public Works Center until November 1963 to provide public works and public utilities support to the Naval Base Complex. His next assignment was Commander, Naval Construction Battalions, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, engaged in overseas construction with Mobile Construction Battalions (Seabees). He was transferred to Southeast Division, Bureau of Yards and Docks, Charleston, South Carolina where he served as Director. In December 1965, he arrived in Vietnam and assumed the duties of Officer in Charge of Construction, Republic of Vietnam, with the rank of Rear Admiral, Civil Engineer Corps. Subsequently, he was assigned duties as Deputy Director, Pacific Division, Bureau of Yards and Docks for Southeast Asia, with headquarters in Saigon, Republic of Vietnam. The work involved the administration and direction of a one billion dollar contract construction program. On June 1, 1966, Rear Admiral Wooding was assigned the additional duties of Commander Third Naval Construction Brigade, when the Brigade was re-commissioned with headquarters in Saigon. For "exceptionally meritorious service" while serving as Commander, Admiral Wooding received the Legion of Merit Medal. He was also the 1966 recipient of the Goethals Medal which is a national award given annually by the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) for notable contributions in engineering, design, or construction in the past five years. On January 25, 1967, Rear Admiral Wooding took Command of the Southwest Division Naval Engineering Command in San Diego, California, and directed the planning, design and construction of naval shore facilities in the Eleventh Naval District. Rear Admiral Wooding was a Registered Professional Engineer in the State of Rhode Island and a member of Tau Beta Pi, Sigma Xi, and Chi Epsilon honor fraternities. After retiring from the Navy in 1970, Rear Admiral Wooding became an Associate Professor of Construction Engineering at Arizona State University in its newly formed School of Construction Management until his retirement in 1987. He continued to reside in Scottsdale, Arizona until his death. Rear Admiral Wooding hailed from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1942 he married Ruth Poll. They had two children, Pamela Wooding Gagen and Robert Jr.. Ruth passed away in 1968. In 1969 Rear Admiral Wooding married Shirley Kruspe, and she brought to the marriage Barbara Nancarrow and Jane Nancarrow of Scottsdale, Arizona. Shirley passed away in 1991. Rear Admiral Wooding was preceded in death by his loving, long time companion of 13 years, Mary Jane Carpenter of Scottsdale, Arizona in 2009. Rear Admiral Wooding is survived by his loving children Pamela Gagen of Scottsdale, Arizona, Robert R. Wooding, Jr. of Las Vegas, Nevada, Barbara McGeorge of Scottsdale, Arizona and Janie Dedona of Mill Valley, California. He is also survived by nine grand children and four great grandchildren. Bob was an avid golfer, model railroad collector and builder and passionate about education. He was a role model for his entire family and lived the meaning of loyalty, character and honor every day. A celebration of Bob's life will be held at 11:00am, Monday, April 16, 2012 with a visitation prior to the service, starting at 9:30am at Messinger Mortuary, 7601 E. Indian School Road, Scottsdale, AZ. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations to the Seabee Memorial Scholarship Association in recognition of his thirty years of military service and in particular his WWII service as a Seabee in the Pacific.
Published in The Arizona Republic on Apr. 15, 2012.