W. Edward (Ed) Wood, 79, of Hope Valley, RI passed away on September 15, 2020 at his home with his wife, Linda, by his side. Ed lived a life dedicated to public service and made meaningful connections with friends and colleagues across the globe. Ed was born in 1941 to Angus R. Wood and Helen Wood in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada. He received his undergraduate degree in Political Science and an M.A. in Japanese Studies, both from the University of Michigan. He married Linda Playdon Wood in 1963, and served as a Captain in the Marine Corps with service in Hawaii and Vietnam. Early in his career, Ed was a reporter for the Associated Press and moved to Rhode Island in 1970 to work for the Providence Journal. For most of the 1970s and the early 1980s, Ed was in Rhode Island state government, serving for various periods as Deputy Administrator of the Public Utilities Division, the first long-serving Director of the Department of Environmental Management and the Director of the Department of Transportation, where he took a major role in the river relocation project that transformed downtown Providence.
In 2001, Ed came out of retirement to become the Chief Operating Officer of the Clinton Health Access Initiative. During his decade with the Initiative, Ed opened offices across Africa to provide quality low-cost medical treatment and is credited with saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of people across the continent.
Ed was an avid traveler, visiting over 75 countries and 49 U.S. states. He was active in dozens of nonprofit organizations and served on the boards of the Rhode Island Committee for the Humanities, Grow Smart Rhode Island, the Nature Conservancy, the Hopkinton Land Trust, and the Precious Project, among others. He was the founder of the Wood Pawcatuck Watershed Association, and served as the Hopkinton Town Moderator for 25 years.
Ed is survived by his wife Linda, daughter Erika, son Dan, brother William and three grandchildren: Miles, Ayah and Kamil.
The family has identified donations to the Wood Pawcatuck Watershed Association and the Precious Project as ways to honor Ed’s legacy.
The family will be hosting an online memorial celebration on October 3rd. Please contact the S.R. Avery Funeral Home in Hope Valley no later than Friday, October 2nd for more information.
For online condolences, please visit www.averyfuneralhome.com