Van Dell Wood, age 76, passed away peacefully June 14th at his home in Hurricane, Utah, after a prolonged illness from multiple organ failure.
Van was born May 27, 1947, in Hurricane, Utah to Burdell and Nathella Bundy Wood. The family stayed in Hurricane until he was five years of age, at which time they moved to Boulder City, Nevada. As a young boy he enjoyed all outdoor activities, especially, swimming, shooting and spending time on his Grandma and Grandpa Bundy's ranch on the Arizona Strip herding sheep and cattle and exploring with his cousins and extended family, especially with his uncle Ben Bundy. He loved going with his family to explore old ghost towns, going somewhere out in the boondocks for Easter picnics, and getting A&W root beer floats on a Sunday evening. He liked playing baseball with his sisters, using anything as a bat.
Van met his sweetheart Joan Andersen when he was in sixth grade and she in seventh because their parents were friends who square danced and had dinners together. They finally began dating while both were attending Boulder City High School. He was an excellent athlete and played basketball, and football, where he was Co-Captain, was All State and was also on the track team, where he threw the shot put and javelin. He held several school records for many years. Van and Joan enjoyed going to parties at Dry Lake, going to dinner at the Swanky Club in Henderson, and swimming at Lake Mead. They once got in trouble for throwing toilet paper over the side of Boulder Dam with their friends just to see how far it would go. When they weren't having fun, Van worked for his Dad and Lalif Wood doing construction, he was always a very hard worker.
After graduating, he received a scholarship to play football for College of Southern Utah (now SUU). He spent the summer before college working for Timet, then moved to Cedar City to play football. In 1966 Van asked Joan to marry him and he returned to Boulder City. They got married in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Little Church of the West. The couple then returned to Cedar City so that he could attend college for two more quarters. When they returned to Las Vegas, he got a job as a laborer for Acme Electric, eventually becoming an operating engineer. He was a talented machine operator, and eventually became a Superintendent. He was skilled at reading older blueprints of Vegas, and always worked very hard to provide for his family.
He loved the outdoors and wildlife and played as hard as he worked, enjoying hunting, fishing, camping, and what his wife considered some pretty extreme jeeping. Many happy days were spent bird hunting near Searchlight, and hunting deer in Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. He acquired a new obsession when Joan's grandfather Ellis Shurtz and Father Virgil Andersen taught him how to fish. He liked to fish Salina Canyon, and all the mountain lakes around that area, but especially at Kolob Mountain where he had helped his dad build a family cabin. While staying at the cabin he would wake up before the sun and get sleepy kids out of bed to fish. On the way to the lake, he always had an 8-track playing music of some kind. Van passed on his love of the outdoors to his children, and was always up for capturing the random chipmunk, pulling over to look at snakes, hunt for Mud Puppies, or to look for glow in the dark creatures. Van enjoyed frog gigging at Meadow Valley and bringing the huge bullfrogs home for all the neighborhood kids to play with, and friends and family to enjoy eating. He frequently brought home lizards and ground squirrels from work, occasionally they were accidentally let loose in the house, much to Joan's chagrin. Another favorite pastime was shooting Black Powder Rifles and competing at local shoots and going to Mountain Man Rendezvous, where his mountain name was Macklin. Van was an equal opportunity lover of dogs and cats. His cat Shiner will miss him as she has been his most recent constant four-legged companion. Many would say he had a green thumb. He had the nicest lawn on the street and had a beautiful backyard. Gardening was also a passion. He was also an excellent cook and loved smoking meat and manning the BBQ. Although he worked hard, he always had time to teach the kids how to ride bikes, skateboard, fix a broken bike, play any sport, or write their names in black powder on the street. He had a great sense of humor and had a saying for every occasion, some more colorful than others. Though he was not a demonstrative man, his kids never left the house without a hug and him saying "Somebody loves you!", "Come back when you can stay longer", or "Be nice and something good will happen to you!".
After retiring, he and his wife moved to Hurricane, Utah, where he was unfortunately in a four-wheeler accident, nearly losing his life and receiving a brain injury. His recovery was extremely difficult, but he rarely complained and was an example of perseverance to his family. His wit and quiet strength will be forever missed by all who knew him.
Van is survived by his wife Joan Marie Andersen Wood of Hurricane, Utah, sisters JoElla Wisham (Ronnie) of Boulder City, Nevada, LaRene Layton (Steve) of Beaver Dam, Arizona, daughter Natalie Wood of Cedar City, Utah, son Lincoln Wood (Becky) of Apple Valley, Utah, two grandsons Clayton Dell Wood and Robert Rangel (Torey)and three great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister LaWauna (2010).
A viewing will be held on Friday June 23rd from 5-7 p.m. at Spilsbury Hurricane Valley Mortuary, 25 N 2000 W, Hurricane, Utah and graveside services will be held at the Hurricane Cemetery at 1 p.m. on Saturday June 24th.
Arrangements are made under the direction of Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 S. Bluff St, St. George Utah, (435)673-2454.
Friends and family are invited to sign Van's online guest book at www.spilsburymortuary.com