Norman David Wood
1943 ~ 2014

Norman David Wood, husband, father, and grandfather passed away on Monday, October 13, 2014 in Highland, Utah due to complications related to a recurrence of cancer at the age of 71. He survived esophageal cancer several years earlier. He was surrounded by his wife and children.

Norm was born in St. Anthony, Idaho on April 30th, 1943 and passed away on October 13th, 2014. He will be remembered indelibly for his undying compassion toward helping and blessing others, his openness to the world of ideas and his commitment to excellence. Norm's signature character strength is his compassion and interest in others. He particularly enjoyed service in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served in various capacities including an honorable full-time mission in the California Mission from 1962 to 1964. He later served in leadership positions, including as a counselor in a stake presidency and as a counselor in a branch presidency. Later in his church service, he reflected most fondly on the opportunity to serve and minister to individuals, including as a Ward Mission Leader and as a Church Service Missionary in the LDS Addiction Recovery Program with his wife Marie. In other church service positions, he used his characteristic gentle and encouraging coaching style to help others find employment and he promoted excellence and precision in training as a Ward Clerk in a student ward bishopric to help other young clerks and secretaries in keeping records for the church in that ward. Because of his affinity for being "complete accurate and timely" in keeping records, he felt a special connection to his ancestor, Thomas Bullock, who was a clerk to several early LDS Church leaders and who kept detailed records of the vanguard pioneer trek across the plains to what is now Utah.

Norm was raised by a mother who delighted in giving gifts that came from the work of her own handiwork, such as crocheted blankets and hand sewn balls and pillows. He was also frequently exposed to the vigorous service of his father who eagerly stopped to help others on the side of the road and often completed home repairs for friends and family. Norm emulated the service of his mother by his own handicraft, which often included written personalized messages to others together with inspirational feedback about their strengths and talents. He was a superb teacher, trainer and life coach. While perhaps not as nimble with tools as his father, he was no less willing to dedicate countless hours to listening to, serving and encouraging others.

Among his distinctive trademarks are his capturing digital photos and videos. Those who knew him frequently anticipated his ready brandishing of a digital camera with the words, "Looks like a photo op!" He delighted in capturing memories and using these to celebrate each individual's uniqueness and worth.

In quiet moments with his children and grandchildren, Norm often reflected on the example and compassion demonstrated in the life of the Savior Jesus Christ and he often referenced the words "a perfect brightness of hope" as a gift that comes from following and serving the Master.

Norm spent his life immersed in the world of ideas. He possessed an insatiable appetite for reading and learning from great thinkers and he had a particular gift of helping ideas come to life and make sense to others in his teaching and training. Norm's innate desire to learn carried him to earning a bachelors in psychology from Brigham Young University (1968), a master's degree in Education, Curriculum and Instruction from Idaho State University (1972) and a doctorate in Instructional Psychology from Brigham Young University (1976). Norm's appreciation of his own education and training led him to always maintain a hand in the teaching and training of others. He worked as an educator early in his career, both as a high school teacher and administrator in Southeast Idaho and later as an assistant professor at Penn State University in instructional design. For the balance of his career, he worked as a trainer and consultant. His openness to ideas led him to persistently be the early adopter of new technologies, which included, among other things, the purchase of one of the first Apple Macintosh computers in 1984. He mastered information technology to help turn information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. Norm persistently issued the "Zone 4 Challenge" to his clients and family members, which entailed striving to move "toward and with" others in work and family relationships. It became his greatest wish that others would choose happiness and not use "misery to meet their needs." He used ideas to strengthen others.

Norm maintained a commitment to excellence in his work and personal efforts. Physical illness came to him early in his life and, for a time, muted his expectations for a healthy and successful life. At a very early age, he had a ruptured appendix and was sent home after an appendectomy with the expectation that he would not survive. He did survive and was referred to by some in rural St. Anthony, Idaho as "the miracle boy." Close calls and the frustrating limitations of illness likely made Norm strive for excellence in his personal, work and family life. An early example was his persistence in learning to become a baseball pitcher and played for his high school baseball team, despite his skinny frame.

In 2010, he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, which includes a poor survival rate. He fought those odds for a period of 4 years, which his family regards as "bonus years" to spend with him and benefit from his influence. His family will miss him and his wisdom, but his legacy will live on in his writings and in the lives of all who he touched. A blog that Norm used for personal writings and his experience with cancer treatment has now been turned into a tribute blog for him by his family and can be seen at: http://www.zone4challenge.com

Norm is survived by his wife Marie Abersold and his six children, Camille Dixon (Bill Rogers), Suzette Overton (Greg), Laurie Jepson (Bryan), David Wood (Cristy), Ryan Wood (Lori) and Alan Wood (Jackie) as well as his two sisters Carolyn Clark and Bonita Klingler. Preceded in death are his parents Archie Samuel Wood and Iva Janet Powell Wood and his sister Mary Delores Christensen.

Norm and Marie are the grandparents of 19 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.

Norm married Carolyn Hillman in 1964 in Idaho Falls (divorced in 1972). He then married Marie Abersold in 1972 and later sealed in the Provo Utah Temple.

Funeral services will be held on Thursday, October 16, 2014 at 11:00 am at the Highland 11th LDS Ward Chapel, 10494 North 4720 West, Highland (on Ole Bish Lane). Friends and family may call Thursday morning from 9:30 to 10:30 am prior to services at the church. Interment will take place in the Providence City Cemetery, 700 River Heights Boulevard, River Heights, Utah.

 

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