1930 – 2019
Elizabeth “Libby” Wood, a beloved teacher and friend, passed quietly on June 19, 2019, after many visits from family and friends. She is survived by her two sons, Charles and Thomas, two grandchildren, Erin and Catherine, her sister, June Jackson, and her longtime partner, Phil Landon. Elizabeth, born in 1930 and raised in Beckley, West Virginia, was one of four children. Elizabeth was an exceptional student, attending WVU, where she graduated in 1953 with degrees in biology and teaching. She taught in WV and Ohio, where in 1957 she met her (late) ex-husband, David Wood, a California native. Once married they relocated back to Livermore, where they raised their two sons. Following their divorce in 1995, she remained in Livermore the balance of her life. She spent many of these years in the company of Phil, as they traveled and played music together over the next two decades.
Libby, as she was known to friends, was renowned for her extraordinary passion for family, life, nature, entertaining, music, travel and teaching. She had a consistently positive outlook on life, and was known for seeing the best in people and in the world around her.
Libby’s first love was for her family and friends. She suspended her teaching career to raise her two sons, and later especially enjoyed time with her two granddaughters. She made efforts to expose her children to many different activities, especially outdoors, and was always proud of their accomplishments. Her enthusiasm for nature undoubtedly influenced her son, Tom’s, career as a biology professor.
Libby was also a consummate host, entertaining many friends and family over the years, often spontaneously, as her approach was always, “it’s not a problem.” Welcoming guests into her home was always a priority, and she often hosted several times in a week. She took great pride in having a well decorated, friendly and inviting home for family, friends, and especially for children.
For Libby, every day was a beautiful day and the world was this wonderful place and curiosity to be explored. She loved the outdoors, especially annual visits to Yosemite Park. Once retired, she enjoyed travel, with her most memorable trip to Africa, which she simply called “awesome.” In later years, as her world grew smaller, she still often expressed “what a wonderful world we live in,” while teaching about nature to her fellow memory care residents.
Music played a major role throughout Libby’s life as a daily activity in some form. An exceptional pianist, she also played guitar, sang and performed weekly with Phil Landon in the Valley Banjo Band for over 20 years.
Initially teaching in West Virginia, then Columbus, Ohio, then Fresno, and lastly Livermore, she always considered herself a teacher. She believed in “hands on learning”, and her students will recall her propensity to use actual animals, bones and plants in her instruction. Evidence indicated she was a memorable teacher as students frequently recognized her.
Despite Libby’s increasing struggles with dementia, she continued her positive outlook to the end, still teaching those around her, loving music, enjoying nature, loving family and friends, and simply enjoying the world around her.
A remembrance service will be held on Sunday, August 11, from 3-5 pm at Asbury Methodist Church, 4743 East Avenue in Livermore. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Clifton Institute.
Callaghan Mortuary is honored to be serving the Wood family. An online guestbook is available for condolences at www.callaghanmortuary.com.