Barry Charles Wood ’61 Needed Only the Warmth of His Brothers

Looking back in time to his days at the Delta Chi house brings back so many wonderful memories.  “It was a time to live life to the fullest and come together in brotherly friendship, which I believe we did successfully.”  He made so many good friends, a number of whom are still alive and kicking, and with whom he still remains in contact.


Among his fondest memories is the “cold dorm,” the room at the head of the stairs which was probably a sun porch back in the day.  The windows were open year round and he is proud to say that, even in the below-zero nights, he never used a heating pad.  The bar room in the basement was a blank canvas for great evenings filled with singing the old songs and enjoying hearty conversation.  The song practices were fun and the sororities always enjoyed the “Delta Chi Singers.”

As a proud brother of DX, it is hard for him to try and pinpoint the most rewarding aspects of fraternity life.  However, first and foremost, are the lasting friendships made. Then there are the experiences that required them to work together, like IM sports or building floats for the Michgras parade where the house won first prize two years in a row.  

If he could go back in time, he would study more, sharpen his skills in his major and appreciate the relationships he formed there right from the start.

Post-graduate, he was a member of Firestone’s management training class. However, upon receiving his second promotion and transfer, he left because he didn’t like the new location. He then took a job with Procter and Gamble in Chicago, but found out early in the game that he was not someone who was comfortable with a desk job.  

Next, he took a job with a company that made sewing products and, while having to travel extensively, he was anchored in San Francisco.  In less than two years, he made enough money to get married and put himself through a University of California law school. The Navy hired him to do contracts work in London, but he declined.  He also turned down the offer to go to do the same type of job in Vietnam, as his wife was pregnant.

Upon returning to California, he headed up the Legal Services program in Mendocino County where Jim Jones was a member of his board of directors before he took his people to Jonestown.  Mr. Wood then practiced as a sole practitioner for more than 25 years before retiring in 1999.  

During four of those years, he served as mayor and councilman, earning him the honor of being named as the defendant in Hays v. Wood, which dealt with at what monetary fee level one must declare the names of his clients.  He won the case before the California Supreme Court, representing himself with help from some amicus filers.  

His law clients ranged from injury and products liability cases, to UPS drivers who had legal coverage as a benefit pursuant to the Teamsters contract. 

His “fun job” was being a part-time college instructor as well as a lawyer.  He taught economics and business law at Mendocino College and he also taught criminal justice and personnel classes aboard Navy ships.  On one of his assignments, he made it all the way around the world by plane and ship.

Family is a big part of his life. He has two wonderful sons by his first wife who passed away in 1995.  He does his best to be a loving, caring, involved father.

Today his oldest son, who is a graduate of both Michigan and the Navy’s nuclear program, is Director of Strategic Analysis at a large hospital.  His youngest son is moving into a management program at a large oil refinery.  They are both loving and caring sons to their almost 76-year-old dad.

Mr. Wood remarried in 2000 after meeting a classmate at a high school reunion.  They have a home near Orlando Florida and a condo at Cocoa Beach.  They are considering taking their 28th cruise in the near future, health permitting.

He keeps his wits sharp by writing letters to the editors in two newspapers, usually pointing out things that need to be said, particularly about the follies of local and state government.  He once, in a caustic letter, explained why state government should hire an eighth- grade student who has passed a civics course to be a consultant who could point out why their proposed legislation was blatantly unconstitutional.  

Fifty years from now, however, he hopes that those still alive will remember him as a fun person.