John Alvin Wood
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Dr. John A. Wood, passed away peacefully at his home in Waco, TX on March 15, 2022 surrounded by his family. A memorial celebration is scheduled at the First Baptist Church of Waco, on Saturday March 26th at 2:00pm with Dr. O.S. Hawkins officiating. A visitation will be held before the service from noon until 2:00pm at the church.
John was born in Fort Worth, Texas, on December 30, 1930, the son of Frank Marion Wood and Doris Jeannette Wolfe Wood. He graduated from Polytechnic High in 1949 where he was a Letterman in football and track. John attended Baylor University from 1949-1953 and received his Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Bible and minors in English, History, and Greek. He was a Baylor Yell Leader and instituted the Card Section at Baylor's home football games. He was a member of the Baylor Letterman Club, Baylor Chamber of Commerce and served on the Honor Council. John's leadership skills and passion for preaching and witnessing were strengthened during his Baylor years of the Youth Revival Movement. He was honored when Baylor asked him to serve on the Board of Regents from 1986-1992.
John attended Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, earning several degrees and a Doctorate of Ministry. He served as president of the Kentucky Baptist Pastor's Conference; Trustee of Georgetown College; Director of the Western Recorder and President of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, in addition to many other state and denominational positions. He was a great communicator and motivator and was a popular and frequent speaker at revivals, conventions, banquets and civic clubs.
Dr. Wood married his college sweetheart and soul mate, Patricia Ann Alexander, on August 3, 1954. John and Patricia served as a pastor/wife team at the Graefenburg Baptist Church in Kentucky from 1954-1957; First Baptist Church, Russellville, Kentucky, 1957-1964; First Baptist Church, Paducah, Kentucky, 1964-1981. Their final pastorate was the First Baptist Church, Waco, Texas, 1981-1991. John and Pat led each of their churches with open arms of love and compassion. John had a rare gift of connecting to people of all ages and walks of life. Their ministry in Waco created one of the largest college ministries in the Southern Baptist Convention. Dr. Wood gave of himself unselfishly. He truly shepherded his flock with a passion that was evident in all he did. His sermons were televised for over 22 years in Kentucky and in Texas.
In 1992 Dr. Wood became Director of Ministries for Christian Mission Concerns, founded by Mr. and Mrs. Paul Piper, and they launched Mission Waco to minister to low-income families in Waco.
John was a true visionary and leader when it came to sharing the gospel. He established John Wood Ministries and began to minister in the former Soviet Union. He also established the International Medical Education Foundation, and performed religious, humanitarian and medical ministries in Ukraine. Dr. Wood's ministry partnered with Providence Healthcare Network, led by Kent Keahey, to conduct annual Medical Exchange Programs that led to dramatically reducing mortality rates for off-pump heart by-pass surgeries in Kiev, Ukraine. Dr. Wood was awarded the Ukraine President's Merit Award for helping improve the delivery of medical care in Ukraine?the highest award given to a non-Ukrainian citizen. The former president of Ukraine, Victor Yushchenko and first lady, Kateryna, visited Waco and the Wood's home in 2012 to personally thank the Waco community for what Wood's Ministry had meant to their country. The Baylor Alumni Association also awarded Dr. Wood the Abner V. McCall Humanitarian Award at their Hall of Fame Banquet in 2013.
John Wood Ministries led the construction of churches all over Eastern Europe after the fall of the Soviet Union. Dr. Wood took Ministry Teams, many consisting of his former church members and friends from Kentucky and Texas, with him to Russia and Ukraine to preach, witness, teach English, distribute Bibles and Christian literature, assist in church construction and lead pastoral training. One member of his team said, "He shared the gospel intentionally. Even if he didn't know the heart-language of those before him, his eyes would sparkle and his smile would bless as he waited for a translator to share his word about the love of God for everyone."
John never lost his enthusiasm for sharing the exciting, redemptive love of Jesus with anyone who crossed his path. He traveled and preached in 48 countries, including revivals in Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina, Africa, Romania, Ukraine and Russia. He preached throughout South America and helped in creating mission churches in the Amazon Basin. Dr. Wood conducted 13 preaching missions to East Africa and led the construction of numerous African Churches.
Dr. Wood's ministerial and avocational interests took him on extensive travels throughout the world, both for ministry and for exploration. His avocational interests included photography, hunting, fishing, taxidermy and art collecting. He was an accomplished taxidermist and had a fascinating trophy room, which gave him the opportunity to minister to people of all ages from elementary school groups, college students and people who might not normally attend a church.
Dr. Wood published several books, God's Errand Boy Fishing on the Other Side, highlighting his wife's and his 55 years of marriage and ministry. He later published four books, two on Russian Lacquer Art: Masters of Fedoskino and New Visions of Russian Lacquer Miniatures, then one on Ivory Carving in Northern Russia. His latest publication was a children's book entitled Learning from Nature.
In addition to his extensive life's work in service to Christ and others, Dr. Wood was deeply devoted to his family and felt blessed to be a husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather.
John said, "Life shouldn't be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well-preserved body, but rather, to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly shouting, Wow! What a ride! Thank You, Lord!"
Dr. Wood was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Doris Wood and by his brother, Frank Marion Wood, Jr. He is survived by his sister, Mary Anne Wood Lane, of Wichita Falls; his cousin, Jeanie Seybold of Fort Worth; his beautiful, loving and devoted wife of 67 years, Patricia; his son, John Alexander Wood of Waco; his daughter, Lea Ann Wood Edwards and her husband, former Congressman Chet Edwards of Waco; and his two grandsons: JT Edwards and his wife, Lily, of Fort Worth; Garrison Edwards and his wife, Gwen, and his first great grandchild, Elena Renee Edwards of Waco.
The family invites you to leave a message or memory on our "Tribute Wall" at www.WHBfamily.com.