Claude Wood

Claude WoodClaude Wood was born on October 11, 1927, near Meridian, Miss. He passed away at home in Ridgecrest on March 28, 2020, at age 92.

As a child, Claude lived in Arizona before moving to Fresno and later La Jolla, graduating from La Jolla High School at 16. He proudly enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1945 at age 17, then served aboard USS Chilton. Granted an honorable discharge in 1946, he attended and graduated from San Diego Junior College where he met his future wife, Beverley Gillespie. Claude and Beverley were married on Sept. 23, 1949.

With the arrival of children, Claude did not resume higher education until 1957 and graduated from San Diego State College with a BSEE in 1960. While working at NAS North Island, he accepted a position with NOTS China Lake and moved the family to China Lake in June 1963. While working in the RF field, he also taught at Bakersfield Junior College Desert Campus and later Cerro Coso Community College. After retiring from civil service in 1978 he worked for Texas Instruments. In 1999 both he and Beverley (who was working in a civil service position) retired. In their retirement, they had a new career growing Christmas trees. A trip to Wood’s Christmas Tree Farm to buy a Christmas tree became part of a local tradition from many valley families.

Claude was active in scouting, motorcycle racing, shooting, hunting, fishing and astronomy. Both he and Beverley were avid backpackers, and their five children acquired an appreciation of the outdoors at an early age.

He was preceded in death by Beverley in 2004. Claude is mourned by their children Lee, Daniel, Claudia, Paul and Robert; 13 grandchildren; 20 great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild; friend and confidant Cherry Merritt; niece Diane DiGiouvianni of Lakewood, Calif.; and half-sister Sandra Wood of Mississippi.

Due to the current Covid19 issue, a private memorial service will be held at a later date.

— Submitted by the family of Claude Wood

Story First Published: 2020-05-15