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Family man from Crabtree relished chance to cook

Jeff Himler
| Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, 11:00 p.m.

Donald “Woody” Wood had energy to spare for his family, friends and the organizations he served in Crabtree.

An Army cook during the Korean War, he later put his kitchen skills to work during the Crabtree Volunteer Fire Department's Lenten fish fries and many mornings in his own home.

“He was a very good cook. He loved making breakfast for his grandkids and nieces and nephews,” said daughter Margie Hockenberry. “The kids always asked him for French toast.”

Her sister, Mary Jo Dalton, recalled their father making homemade potato chips and canning vegetables.

“If you could can it, he'd figure out a way to do it,” Dalton said. “He made a mustard and put a little bit of hot pepper in it. It was good to dip pretzels in.”

When his mother's health began to decline, he took over preparing holiday dinners for the family. “He had the turkey stuffed at 10 in the morning, and we wouldn't eat until 2,” Hockenberry recalled. “He had excess energy to burn.”

Mr. Donald F. Wood, 84, of Crabtree died Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017 at Loyalhanna Care Center near Latrobe, after a battle with cancer. Born Feb. 7, 1933 in Yukon, he was one of 11 children of the late Benjamin and Charlotte Wood and helped raise a younger sister.

Marrying and moving to Crabtree in 1958, Mr. Wood soon joined the local fire department, where he remained active for half a century. He responded to major emergencies, including barn fires and a drowning at Greenwalt Lake, and worked behind the scenes at the department's social functions.

He also completed stints with the Lloydsville and Hannastown fire departments and was a member of the Westmoreland County Firemen's Association.

Mr. Wood worked as a crane operator for 33 year at the Duquesne Works of U.S. Steel. He later was employed at Greensburg Beverage and engaged in a side business as a house painter.

Before arterial disease led to the loss of his legs, he was an avid golfer and enjoyed dancing.

Dalton said her father “always had a smile and a hug. He gave his all for everybody.”

Mr. Wood is survived by his wife of 60 years, Patricia; three children, Margie Hockenberry and her husband, Scott, of Havre de Grace, Md., Mary Jo Dalton and her partner, Scott Rebtoy, of Crabtree, and Robert Wood of Crabtree; six grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Friends will be received from 3 to 7 p.m. Tuesday in Clement L. Pantalone Funeral Home, 409 W. Pittsburgh St., Greensburg. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. Bartholomew Catholic Church, Crabtree. Interment will be private.

Memorial donations may be made to Crabtree Volunteer Fire Department, St. Bartholomew Church or a charity of one's choice.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6622, jhimler@tribweb.com or via Twitter @jhimler_news.

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