James Leighton Wood


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James Leighton Wood

James Leighton Wood, age 73, passed away on January 31, 2018 at home in Seattle Washington, due to heart disease.

He was born on September 29, 1944 to Francis and Mary Wood in Lynden, WA. Dr. Frank Wood, his grand-father delivered him. James was known as Jim to his family and friends.

He was a kind and gentle soul.

After completing high school, he attended college. During his attendance, he was drafted into the army. He served in the United States Army, less than 2 years as an E3 Private First Class (PFC) in the Vietnam War.

After he returned home, he went back to college. He then worked in Alaska for a little over a year to blubber seals. After the season was over, he came home and resided in Issaquah, WA for 30 years. Until his parents passed away in 2000, he moved back to his family home. Jim never married nor had any children, but he was an Uncle and Great-Uncle.

Jim was preceded in death by his father Francis, mother Mary and brother Edward. He is survived by his nieces, Jennifer Hinkley, Courtney Gilmour, and Dawn Kellam; his nephews, Mark Wood, Joseph Wood, Bryan Wood, and Robert Wood. His Great-Nephew Jonathan Rushing Jr. and many loving extended family members and friends.

Jim enjoyed gardening, he was proud of his vegetable garden and canned all his surplus yield. He loved dabbling with different spices to explore the taste and textures. He loved swimming, rollerblading and bicycling. He loved traveling everywhere to folk dancing festivals, as he danced and played his accordion, this was the joy of his life. He would also play at the Nordic Heritage Museum and his neighborhood gatherings. One to two times a year, Jim would travel on vacation to Hawaii to soak up the sun. He would also take trips around the northwest playing different golf courses.

He was a thinker, as he would explore possibilities and write essays of his beliefs and scientific theories. He read a lot about scientific, philosophical theories about the earth, God and universe. He was very sweet and thoughtful to those who he had met. He made several donations over the years to many charities, such as Foundation for America Veterans, Operation Smile, American Red Cross, Seattle Children’s Hospital, and Breast Cancer Society.

In his early years, he would play a variety of sports like football, baseball, basketball, and wall tennis with a group of guys at Olympic View School and he was on the Church of Brethren basketball team.

Jim will be greatly missed by all those family and friends who were fortunate to have known him.

Memorial Service to be held on June 5th, 2018 at 2:30pm at Tahoma National Cemetery 18600 SE 240th St, Kent, WA.

3 Responses to “James Leighton Wood”

  • Ruth Chamberlain says:

    Jim was a special cosusin to Glen and me. We lived in Hawaii and he would spend his R and R with us when he was sent there for a break from Viet Nam. His parents met him there on one trip and we all had a wonderful time together. That is when Jim developed his love for Hawaii. He asked us to go to Hawaii with him but passed before we were able to do that. Thanks Jim for the many writings you shared with me and I wish I had all of them to keep them together. I always thought you were a genius! You and I had so many philosophical and religious discussions. Sometimes agreeing sometimes not but you knew we loved you. Rest in Peace my dear cousin and friend. I KNOW I will see you again.

  • Gordon Tambellini says:

    Jim was a very good friend of mine. He was kind, gentle, houghtful and a very good person. We lived in the same Seattle neighborhood. I met Jim at the Olympic View School playground where a group of friends would play football, basketball, baseball and wall tennis together. Jim always wanted to go to Las Vegas, so we through golf clubs in his Volkswagen Beetle and to a road trip to California beaches, golf courses and Las Vegas casinos and had a great time. At my second wedding, he knew I had a two year old daughter, Jade, so brought her a Barbie doll along with the wedding present. On his way to Naselle to perform at Finnish folk festivals, he would stop by our house to play his accordion. When I visited him in Isaquah and Seattle he would be excited to show me his garden and the gadgets he created to make his garden more efficient. He loved to discuss the universe, religion and philosophy and would write dissertations for me to comment on. We golfed several time in Tumwater where I live and he would tell me about his travels around the state and to golf courses and his different athletic endeavors to stay in good shape. I will miss Jim, his kind nature and unique laugh.

  • Tom Nyman says:

    Jim was my first cousin and we grew up together in different parts of Seattle. Our parents always celebrated New Years together and us kids snuck out and explored our neighborhoods to watch the fireworks and other New Year’s celebrations. Lots of memories. We unhappily will miss his internment because we are now in Virginia and not as spry as we would wish. We will visit Tahoma next time in Seattle and pay our respects. We do appreciate the dignified Military ceremonies and will be there in spirit. Farewell my cousin. May peace be with you forevermore.

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