ROCKFORD – Mervel E. Wood, 94, of Rockford, died Wednesday, July 16, 2014, at Wesley Willows in Rockford.
He was born June 17, 1920, in East St. Louis, the third son of Leonard C. and Clara Myrtle (Bredenkamp) Wood. In 1938, he graduated from Alden High School in Alden, Iowa; in 1940 from Ellsworth Junior College; and in 1943, from Iowa State College with a degree in mechanical engineering. He was a member of the Acacia Fraternity. He married Margaret “Peggy” Ritts on April 5, 1943, in Ames, Iowa. He served in the Naval Reserve from 1943 to 1946 in New York City, and Oakland, California. In 1946, Mervel and his brothers, Keith and Leonard, founded Wood Brothers Manufacturing Co. in Oregon, manufacturing rotary mowers and related farm implements. He retired from Woods in 1972, and thereafter, purchased Rocket Trailer Sales in Rock Falls. He retired in 1985.
After Margaret’s death in 1997, he married Ruth Gantzert Wright on June 18, 1998.
Survivors include his wife, Ruth; sons, Stephen (Barb) of Rochester, Minnesota, Douglas (Debbie) of Benton Harbor, Michigan, Thomas (Catherine) of Longmont, Colorado, and James (Lynn) of Loves Park; daughter, Nancy (Greg) Wyatt of Kent, Washington; 15 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.
He also was preceded in death by his parents; son, John; and brothers, Keith and Leonard.
Visitation will be from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday at Fitzgerald Funeral Home, 3910 N. Rockton Ave., Rockford. Visitation also will be from 10 to 11 a.m. Monday and the funeral at 11 a.m. Monday at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 4055 N. Rockton Ave., Rockford. Burial will be at Riverview Cemetery in Oregon.
Memorials may be made to the Wesley Willows Good Samaritan Fund, 4141 N. Rockton Ave., Rockford, IL 61103.
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