She would refrain from sugar coating the realities and honestly speak her mind, yet she was never afraid to share in the laughter life provided with her joking personality. Pamela Wood lived her life with a sense of rightness but always sought out good times. She was a caring wife, a loving mother, and a cherished grandmother and friend to so many. We will never forget her place in our lives.
Before Pamela's life began, the 1940’s decade was an emotionally mixed period, as it began with raging war - but those times eventually saw relief and some strides toward peace. Specifically, the year of 1945 symbolized the transition in many ways. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected to an unprecedented 4th term in office, but his death prompted Vice President Harry S. Truman into the presidential position. The world found a bit of relief when the news of Adolph Hitler’s reign finally ended, and many concentration camps were liberated. All of this eventually led to the end of World War II in the late part of summer.
Closer to home, in Noble County, Indiana, Glenn and Alice (Merrick) Walter were preparing to meet their precious daughter. Pam made her life's debut on April 14, 1945, at the Lucky Hospital. She was raised as the middle child between two sisters, Glenna and Shirley, in Whitley County.
Pam’s early childhood was spent with a great deal of silence, as it became evident that she had a hearing loss. She received her first pair of hearing aids at the age of 16, and life suddenly became much more interesting. She spent her youth playing and embarking on many adventures on the family farm which was located just south of Columbia City at the corner of 150 East and 500 South. Her father bought her a burro, named Lukie, and she often rode him around the grounds of the farm.
As she matured, her years of schooling eventually led her to Columbia City Joint High School where she graduated in 1963. Upon earning her high school diploma, she found employment at Lincoln Life. In these early adult years, Pam married and became a mother to three beautiful children: Deanna, Melanie, and Kent. She alternated between working at KCH Hospital in Warsaw and staying home with her family. After Kent was born, she became a stay at home mom again to help keep the life of her family organized. Once her family was a bit more established, she was able to return to work again at Whitely County Memorial Hospital. She got her foot in the door working in the kitchen and that led her to a position as a ward clerk and nurse’s aide. Pam felt at ease while working in the hospitals and this naturally led to her volunteering at the Palmetto Health Richland Hospital as well while she lived in South Carolina.
Pam's life took a few different directions as she raised her family. Soon, she was led to find the true love of her life through a blind date arranged by a co-worker. Randal L. Wood came into her life, found her heart, and never let go. The happy couple rang wedding bells on March 20, 1981. This union also created a new and larger family, as Randy's son, Joshua, joined Pamela's three children to make their family truly complete.
Pam loved being in the company of her family, and she was a fierce protector of all of them. She relished the time when everyone could gather together for holiday dinners. Christmas was especially important to her, and she would spend hours perfecting her Christmas trees for all to enjoy. Her family enjoyed her cooking abilities as well, but they were not afraid to let her know which meals were not exactly their favorites - like the huge pot of goulash that would last for weeks or the liver she would sometimes prepare. Later in life, the kids would bring along a dish or two to make family gatherings easier for Pam.
Randy and Pam worked together at Woody's septic service. She was part owner, and she spent 11 years there before retiring in 2007. In addition to working together, she and Randy also enjoyed the fresh air of the roads while riding on Randy's motorcycles. In 2001, the two of them went on a trip to Marathon, New York where Pam got the bug to start riding with Randy more. Soon, they enjoyed going to several rally events together. She was officially a member of the American Legion Riders, Patriot Guard Riders, and Gold Wing Riders Chapter P in Lexington, S.C. and locally, M2. She was also part of the Gilbert Davis American Legion Auxiliary Post 157.
Additionally, Pamela had many interests which occupied her time fully. She was a skilled artist, painter, and quilter. She leaves behind many artifacts of her skilled passions with loved ones as tokens of her life. She had been a member of the Noble County Art Guild and the Quilt Club of South Carolina. For her spiritual reflections, she found respite in the Big Lake Church of God as a former member.
She and Randy also celebrated the joy of becoming grandparents together. They were blessed with five grandchildren; Adam, Sarah, Talynn, Madalynn, and Lillyen were part of the new generation. As time passed, Pam watched as three great-grandchildren entered the world as well. All of these young lives had a special place in her heart.
When the weather was right, and she needed a rest from her indoor hobbies, she could be found working in her garden or out searching for the right rock to add to her collection. Whenever she traveled, she would make sure to bring home a rock or two as mementos of her travels. On many trips, she would spot just the right rock and would go about retrieving it no matter what. In fact, her "Kendallville rock" could tell such as story. She spotted this white rock out in a friend’s field. When they went to dig it up, they did not realize how much of it was under the Earth! Over three hours later, she finally freed the large rock, mustered the strength, and carried it to her red Mustang where she carefully placed it in the trunk. This rock traveled with her from home to home and will be placed with her forever at the cemetery. She also gladly received many rocks from her loved ones upon their return from adventures taken.
Pam lived most of her life in Whitley County, but there were a few exceptions over the years. For a bit of time, in 1994, they moved to Noble County. After a few years, they moved back to Whitley County but not for long, as Randy's job relocated them to South Carolina in October of 2015. Pamela finally made her way back to Columbia City on September 17, 2016. The day after her return home, she learned of her cancer diagnosis.
Almost a year later, we are forced to say goodbye. Pam passed away on Friday, July 21, 2017, at Parkview Hospital. As we look to one another to find comfort in our shared memories, we will also make sure to keep her spirit alive in our hearts. We will dearly miss her ability to make us laugh and her honest way of speaking her mind. Pamela will be greatly missed in this lifetime.
Survivors include her husband of 36 years, Randy Wood; children, Deanna Funk, of Warsaw, Melanie (Gary Rodenbeck) Wood, of Columbia City, Kent Wood, of Columbia City and Joshua (Tiffani) Wood, of Fort Wayne; sister, Glenna (Phil) Johnson, of Columbia City; grandchildren, Adam (Ashley Kessinger) Funk, Sarah Funk, Talynn Wood, Madalynn Wood and Lillyen Wood; and three great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents and baby sister, Shirley K. Walter.
Visitation is 2-4 and 6-8 PM Tuesday, July 25, 2017, at DeMoney-Grimes, a Life Story Funeral Home, 600 Countryside Drive, Columbia City. Funeral services will be 10 AM Wednesday, July 26, 2017, at the funeral home with Pastor Paul Dreger officiating. Burial will follow at South Whitley Cemetery. Memorial gifts may be given in her memory to Palmetto Health Richland Hospital or American Legion Auxiliary. Visit www.demoneygrimes.com to send family condolences or sign the guest register book.
A quote given to her by a friend “The women I love and admire for their strength and grace did not get that way because life worked out. They got that way because life went wrong and they handled it. They handled it a thousand different ways on a thousand different days, but they handled it. Those women are my superheroes.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert