Overton Funeral Home
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Indianola, IA 50125
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J. Richard Wood

1931 - 2019
J. Richard Wood Obituary
J. Richard Wood

Indianola - James Richard Wood, age 87, of Indianola Iowa, died at his home on August 5, 2019. Celebration of Life Services will be held 3 p.m. Sunday, August 11, 2019, at Overton Funeral Home in Indianola. Burial of cremains will be in the Indianola I.O.O.F. Cemetery. The visitation will be held 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday prior to services at the funeral home. Memorials may be given in Rich's name to the Indianola First United Methodist Church or Unity Point Hospice.

He is survived by his wife Janet; children, James (Lisa) Wood, Michael (Becky) Wood, Kathleen (Andy) Motzko; grandchildren, Andrew, Kyle, Jacob, Lindsay and Nicholas Wood; great-grandchildren, Auliver, Gracyn and Aurora Wood. He was preceded in death by his parents, Paul and Dorothy Wood; siblings, Donald Wood and Betty Forst.

Richard was born in Indianola, Iowa on August 6, 1931. He was raised in Indianola and spent his life there. He attended Indianola High School and participated in track and field; during his senior year, he won first place in the high jump and the Drake Relays. After graduating from Indianola High School in 1949, he attended Simpson College for two years. His college career was interrupted in 1952, as he was drafted into the Army during the Korean War. He attained the rank of Sergeant and was honorably discharged in 1954. He returned to Simpson college to finish his degree. He was active in track and field and football, and graduated in 1956 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration.

While at Simpson College, he met Janet Noble, and they were married on August 4, 1957. They had three children together and raised them in Indianola.

Following graduation, Richard was employed at Solar Aircraft in Des Moines. While there, he was the first trainee selected to attend the new management training program. In 1963, he joined Laverty Sprayers in Indianola, conducting sales and management of roadside spraying, aerial spraying and dust control. He later worked to develop Laverty Supply for sales and distribution of explosives. In 1983 he purchased the explosives and dust control business with partner Jerry Ripperger and formed Jerico Services, Inc. Richard retired from Jerico Services in 1993.

Richard and Janet owned several farms over the years, and enjoyed the rural lifestyle. Richard's passion was raising Black Angus cattle, and actively participated in the Warren County Angus Association and the Warren County fair. Two of his favorite activities were building miles of fence by hand and baling hay on hot summer days.

Richard loved his hometown and was extremely involved in community service. He was instrumental in organizing the Indianola Jaycees and served as the first president. He was selected as one of the "outstanding young men in America" by the Junior Chamber of Commerce in 1965. He was an active member in Kiwanis. He was a member of the Indianola School Board, and also served as its president. He served on the board of directors for the Winifred Law Opportunity Center for several years.

In his early years, Richard developed a love of the outdoors and enjoyed fishing. He went on many fishing trips with his father and uncles in northern Minnesota. These experiences led to his parents purchasing a lake home in the Brainerd lakes area in 1961. Richard and Janet and the family enjoyed summer vacations at the cabin every year. In 1996, they purchased a lake home on Lake Bertha near Pequot Lakes, and have spent every summer there. This was his favorite place to be, as he enjoyed fishing, tinkering, and spending time with family and friends.

Richard was a loving husband, devoted father, and dear friend to many. He will be deeply missed by everyone that knew him. To sign an online condolence, visit our website at
Published in Des Moines Register on Aug. 14, 2019
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