Jerry Wood, chairman of the Sussex County Republican Committee, died in his home in Frankford last Friday, Dec. 28, at the age of 73.
Wood was born in rural Indiana and spent most of his career working for the Department of Defense and in other U.S. government operations. He was also heavily involved in Washington, D.C.-area real estate and actively purchased and rehabilitated houses in the national capital region.
“In the past, Jerry worked for the Department of the Army at the Pentagon. And when he retired from there he was a real estate broker in the D.C. area and eventually he retired down here and lived in Frankford,” recalled Carol Bodine, secretary for Sussex County Republican Committee. “He bought a piece of property in Frankford that he loved for the view. He himself was the contractor and built his house so that you could see that view from his deck. He loved that view.”
Wood had been actively involved with the Delaware GOP since 2008 and was elected chairman of the committee in March 2012. In August of 2012, he was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.
“He worked ’til the end,” said Bodine. “He was a major loss to us. Jerry was in the office sometimes until 10 o’clock at night, working for this party. His big thing was unifying the party in all three counties. He worked effortlessly at that.”
Bodine said that, as per party rules, Vice Chairman John Rieley has taken over Wood's duties.
“In March, we’re having our countywide elections. So in March we may have a whole new slate of officers,” she added.
Wood was interred beside his late wife at the Garden of Remembrance Cemetery in Clarksville, Md., on New Year’s Eve.
The Delaware GOP was to hold its own memorial for Wood on Jan. 3, at the Georgetown Cheer Center, where numerous people, including Delaware GOP Chairman John Sigler, were to speak.
“It will be a testimony to Jerry,” said Bodine. “We want him to have as much recognition as we can get for him.”
Bodine said that Wood was respected by all who knew him, and was a friend and asset to the party.
“You can see by his smile what a good guy he was,” she said. “There is no one that didn’t respect Jerry to the party — upstate all the way down through Sussex. Everyone respected Jerry.
“We’re just devastated by this. He was in this office almost every single day, working for the party. He was a kind man and generous to a fault. He had a personality that everybody liked. He had a way of making everybody feel important and needed. “He was just a great person — that’s all I can say.”
Wood is survived by his brothers Delbert and Richard, and by his son, Kent, and four grandchildren.