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Memorial Service Planned for Schools Pioneer Howard Wood

December 08, 1989|Janet Rae-Dupree

Memorial services will be held Saturday for Dr. Howard Asa Wood, the first president of the Torrance Unified School District Board of Education and one of the district's founders.

Wood, who also was a founder and former chief of staff at Torrance Memorial Medical Center, died Nov. 22 at the medical center. He was 95 years old.

"He was a very outgoing person, very generous," said Albert Posner, a retired assistant superintendent of the Torrance school district, who was one of the first principals hired by the fledgling school board in 1947. "He was wonderful with children and a fine medical doctor," Posner said.

Born to farmer parents on the South Dakota prairie Jan. 12, 1894, Wood began his formal education in a one-room schoolhouse before moving on to undergraduate studies at Yale University and Linfield College in Oregon. He graduated from Yale University's medical school in 1925.

Wood set up a medical practice in Long Beach, then moved to Beaumont, Calif., in 1930.

He came to Torrance in 1942 and quickly became one of several community activists pushing for an independent Torrance school system, which at the time was part of the Los Angeles Unified School District.

In 1947, voters approved the new district, and Wood was selected as its first president.

He is survived by a brother, Dr. Walter J. Wood of Corona; three nephews, David Wood of Coronado, Leonard Wood of Laguna Beach and George Lewellen of Oregon; and four nieces, Martha Kaye of Del Mar, Mary Eleanor Johnson of Fallbrook, Joan Wood of Calabasas and Rebecca Beals of Oregon.

Services will be 11 a.m. Saturday at Halverson, Stone and Myers Mortuary in Torrance. Memorial donations may be made to the Nature Conservancy, 1815 N. Lynn St., Arlington, Va. 22209.

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