Hugh "Bill" Williford Wood
PEORIA - Hugh "Bill" Williford Wood, 95, of Rowlett, Texas, formerly of Peoria and Springfield, Illinois, passed away on Monday, June 22, 2020.
Hugh was born on October 6, 1924, in Hillsdale, Michigan. He was the son of Alva V. Wood and Sena E. Williford Wood. He grew up in Chicago and lived with his mother after his parents separated. In 1940, he graduated from Hyde Park High School at the age of 16. After attending junior college for almost 2 years, he was drafted into the U.S. Army during World War II. He served 3 years in Europe and the South Pacific before returning to his studies. He graduated with honors (third in his class) at Illinois Institute of Technology with a degree in Electrical Engineering in 1947. After working one year at Zenith in Chicago, he landed a job with LeTourneau in Peoria, Illinois. LeTourneau was sold to Westinghouse Air Brake Company (WABCO) in 1953. Over time, Hugh became involved with and had a passion for, reliability engineering. It was during this time that Hugh met Margaret A. Bolt in Peoria at a drug store, where she had a summer job. They were married on October 2, 1960, in Hanna City, Illinois, and were together until his death. Shortly after his engagement to Margaret, Hugh began reconnecting with his dad and stepmom, Velma. This became a central part of his family's life and he spent all of his 2 weeks' vacation each year traveling to see them in Houston. Hugh left WABCO, and Peoria, in 1974 to join Fiat-Allis in Springfield, Illinois. In addition to his role as reliability engineer, he eventually performed a variety of other roles, including the preparation and review of legal documents. He retired from Fiat-Allis in 1988. Hugh was an avid investor who read the Wall Street Journal every day after work into retirement. He loved the Bears and Cubs, although he also had a soft spot for the Lions and Tigers from his early days in Michigan. He was thrilled to witness the Cubs finally winning the World Series in 2016! Hugh also loved the ocean, restaurant dining, chess, ping pong and mathematical puzzles of all kinds.
Those left to cherish Hugh's memory include his wife, Margaret; son, Gary Wood, currently recovering from a liver transplant in Richardson, TX; son, Alan (Renee) Wood, with grandchildren, Zoe and Braeden, of Waukee, IA; daughter, Barbara (Joe) Figarelli, with grandchildren, Sophia and Joseph, of Rowlett, TX; his sister, Judy Herr in Livermore, CA; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
A private service for Hugh will be held at Rest Haven Funeral Home in Rockwall, Texas.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to either Hugh's son, Gary, to help with liver transplant expenses (checks payable to Gary Wood at 2916 Burgundy Trail, Rowlett, TX 75088); or to Peace Lutheran Church, 2800 W. Jefferson Street, Springfield, IL 62702.
Published in Peoria Journal Star from Jun. 27 to Jun. 29, 2020.