Donald Ray Wood, 73, passed away in the evening of Feb. 6, 2017, in Boise while surrounded by his family. A celebration of Don's life will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017, at Rost Funeral Home, McMurtrey Chapel, and inurnment with military honors will follow at Mountain View Cemetery in Mountain Home.
Donald was born Aug. 13, 1943, in Gordon, Ga., one of five children to Willard and Mildred Wood. Donald remained in Gordon until his 17th birthday when he decided to leave and join the U.S. Air Force.
Donald spent 21 years in the Air Force and began his service in weapons and then retrained to work in the machine shop. Donald used his natural talent as a machinist to advance in rank and become the head of the machine shop at Mountain Home Air Force Base. It was from there that he retired at the rank of Master Sergeant.
After retiring from the Air Force, Don continued to pursue his career, working as a machinist and anything that had to do with machine work, metalsmithing, mechanical repair and tinkering in general. Don also spent part of his post Air Force career at Sailor Creek Bombing Range.
Throughout it all, he maintained his own shop and business, which is where he could be found at all hours, often covered in grease and oil from whatever he was working on, usually with friends looking on.
Don was a talented machinist, but his true passion was bluegrass music. He was a self-taught musician and was able to play instruments, including fiddle, mandolin, banjo and guitar. He began playing in bluegrass bands while serving his country in Vietnam, and he continued playing bluegrass either in bands or solo up until recently.
Don loved to perform and genuinely enjoyed watching those who would listen, dance, clap or just tap their toes in rhythm.
Later in life, Don developed another passion -- bee keeping. He was an ardent apiarist and enjoyed all things bee. He doted over his bees processing their honey and labeling it "Damn Good Honey." If the bees would have produced more while listening to bluegrass music, he would have played for them, too.
Don also had a sharp sense of humor, mixed with Southern gentleman charm. He loved to laugh and to make others laugh. He always had a joke on the tip of his tongue and had no reservations in sharing them. Don had many friends with whom he shared these laughs.
Don was at heart a caring man who would not hesitate to give whatever was needed to a family member, friend and at times a complete stranger.
Don is survived by his son, Jim and his wife, Evelyn; his daughter, Patti and her husband, Ryan; grandsons David and Ty; granddaughter Caitlyn; his eldest brother, Jimmy; and many friends. He was preceded in death by his wife, Carol Ann; both his parents; his brothers, John and Maynard; his sister, Angela; and his grandson, Ryder McRae.