Duane Wood, loving father, grandfather, and brother passed from this life and went to be with the Lord on Monday, July 23, 2012, at the age of 74.
Born Sept. 20, 1937, in Wilburton, he was the son of Edgar Scott and Jessie (Ray) Wood. He grew up in Wilburton and graduated from WHS in 1955. Duane married his high school sweetheart, Saundra Callahan, on June 29, 1957; she preceded him in death in 2004.
A gifted athlete, Duane excelled in all sports. He lettered in football, basketball, baseball and track all three years in high school and was named Black Diamond All-Conference and Oklahoma All-State football as a senior. After graduation, he attended Oklahoma A&M for four years on a football scholarship where he had an outstanding college career. Among honors he received were being named outstanding player of the Blue/Gray Game and being the leading scorer in OSU’s victory in the Blue Grass Bowl in 1958.
After college Duane pursued a successful career in professional football. From 1959 to 1965 he participated in the early days of both the American Football League and the Canadian Football League. Teams he played with included the Hamilton Tiger Cats, Dallas Texans, Kansas City Chiefs and Edmonton Eskimos. He received many honors as a professional athlete and played in the 1963 AFL All Star Game.
Duane was part of AFL history in the early days of professional football and was with the Dallas Texans when they became the Kansas City Chiefs. He often said it was a time when players played for the love of the sport and not for the money.
In 1965 Duane retired from professional sports. He and Saundra returned to Wilburton to manage private businesses including the B&H Clothing Store, the Bowling Alley, and Duane’s Recreation and Pool Hall. He worked a couple of years with a dredging service on the Arkansas River and was awarded a medal of commendation for saving the lives of three people whose boat capsized on the river where he was working.
In 1973 Duane was hired as office manager of Kiamichi Electric Cooperative and was soon named assistant manager. In 1987 he was named general manager and held that position until he retired in 1999 after 26 years of service to KEC.
Duane remained a lifelong sports enthusiast; he was an avid golfer all his life and was a lifetime member of the Wilburton Country Club. He loved watching all sports, especially the St. Louis Cardinals, and possessed a tremendous amount of knowledge on anything sports related.
Duane was involved with many civic activities during his life including: NFL Retired Players Association, WHS Alumni Association life member and past president, OSU Alumni Association, Wilburton Lion’s Club member and past treasurer, past member of Wilburton Jaycees and Kiwanis Clubs, Wilburton State Bank past board member, Wilburton City Council past member, Wilburton Senior Citizens volunteer, and he donated to many charitable organizations on a regular basis.
Duane was a member of Wilburton First United Methodist Church and also attended at Wilburton Presbyterian Church and Rocky Point Methodist Church.
Considering all Duane’s accomplishments and honors, he was most of all devoted to his family and friends. He was always thinking of others and took every opportunity to put the needs of others above his own.
Duane is survived by daughter and son-in-law, Robert and Cheryl Myers, granddaughters, Laura and Hayley Myers; daughter and son-in-law, Blake and Deanna Downing, grandson Jacob Duane Downing, granddaughter Jaimie and Marshall Schofield, great-granddaughter Lauren Lee Schofield; brother, Charles “Butch” Wood; two aunts, Hazel Williamson of Muskogee and Jane Ray of Ada. He also leaves behind many cousins, relatives, and friends to mourn his passing as well as his faithful dog and companion, Monroe.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Saundra; parents Edgar and Jessie Wood; and niece, Whitney Wood Fleming.
Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Friday, July 27, at the Wilburton High School Auditorium with Rev. April Coates officiating assisted by Dr. Billye Kay Givens. Viewing at Jones-Harkins Funeral home will be from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday and family will receive friends at 6 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home. Final viewing will be Friday at the Methodist Church from 9:30 a.m. to noon.
Active pallbearers are Bob Owens, Jimmy Broyles, J.J. Bull, Marshall Schofield, Drew Forwoodson and Cade Fite.
Honorary pallbearers are John Hayes, Jim Pirtle, Woody Abernathy, Stan McCasland, Billy Joe Guerra, Morris Foster, Gene Stinson, Tom Ratliff, Dr. Gerald Rana, D.O., John Shero, Dr. Charles “Buddy” Enis, Charles Adams, Robert Myers, John Forwoodson, Jacob Downing and Blake Downing; surviving classmates from WHS Class of 1955; and surviving teammates from the Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Memorials can be made to Wilburton Methodist Church, Wilburton Presbyterian Church, Rocky Point Methodist Church, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Latimer County Hospital or any other church or charity.
Arrangements are under the direction of Jones-Harkins Funeral Home, Wilburton.
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