Long-time Chamber leader remembered fondly
ALPINE ---- Sometimes there just aren’t enough words to describe a really nice guy.
George Wood was a father, grandfather and almost a great-grandfather beloved by his family when he died of cancer on March 30.
Kind, helpful, honest, generous, hard worker, successful businessman, active, pleasant, fun-loving ---- those are some of Wood’s many qualities, according to family, friends and acquaintances.
Wood, 74, was a member for more than 20 years of the Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce. A current director, Wood had been Chairman of the Board three times.
“He wasn’t a saint, but he was the most honest, kind, generous and loving man I ever knew,” said Pat Wood, his wife of 53 years. “Everyone that knew him, and some that didn’t, will feel the loss. I know I will miss him dearly.”
So will the Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber that Wood, owner of Village Carpets/Flooring America, helped build in East San Diego County.
“When I applied for a job with the Chamber, George was the chairman,” said Patricia Cannon, Chamber President/CEO. “He interviewed me and hired me. We always enjoyed a great working relationship and friendship. He was a great guy, very ethical, and extremely kind-hearted.”
Wood did so much for the community and its members, Cannon said, that she doesn’t think “we will ever know everything positive he did, just because he did what he thought was right, and appreciated a thank you, without fanfare and notoriety. I will truly miss him.”
As the oldest of eight children in a Chicago, Ill., family, Wood learned that life meant working hard to get rewards. With his dad diligently working, George helped his mom a lot with the other children.
His business career started with a twice-daily paper route. It continued through a series of jobs until he became part owner of the Mulvaney’s restaurants in the San Diego area. Too young to retire when the restaurants were sold, Wood bought a carpet store in 1990 in Alpine.
Along the way he met Pat in 1959 when she and a friend stopped at a service station where George was the attendant.
“He said I smiled at him the whole time,” said Pat, adding that she always denied it.
The couple married and had four children ---- Jolene, Kenneth, Craig (Randy) and Carol --- and six grandchildren ---- Kimberly, Sean, Devon, Alyssa, Cheyenne and Michael. Their first great-grandchild will be born in about eight months.
“We got to tell George the news and he was very excited,” Pat Wood said.
George served four years in the U.S. Air Force Reserve in the early 1960s. Later he ran for a Santee City Council slot and helped raise the Alpine Chamber to a new level in the early 1990s.
“Back in the day before Pat (Cannon) was in her position, the Chamber was in terrible shape,” said Chamber Director Al Haven of the Institute for Instructional Management in Alpine. “George came to town from owning Mulvaney’s and we thought we’d better get him on the board. George was always the dependable guy. He had sound ideas and was a shining light.”
A supporter of the Catholic Church and a member of the Knights of Columbus as well as the Kiwanis Club of Alpine, Wood was also on the board of San Diego Freedom Ranch in Campo. He personally reached out to help the homeless get jobs and the addicted get sober.
Wood was re-baptized in the Jordan River and remarried in Cana as he traveled to other countries with his wife. At home he enjoyed his love of old cars and parades.
“He has a 1934 Ford and he only missed the Mother Goose Parade twice in 53 years,” Pat Wood said. “It was the only thing he did for himself.”
When others would get angry or upset, she said, George figured they “were having a bad day.”
“He had a great sense of humor and was always telling corny jokes,” Pat said. “He made every one of our children and grandchildren feel like they were the most special one. In my life, he was the best thing that came along.”
Memorial donations in George’s name may be made to the San Diego Freedom Ranch, 1777 Buckman Springs Road, Campo, CA 91906.