Music 03

Barry Nelson Wood

September 30, 1941 ~ February 1, 2022 (age 80)


Barry Nelson Wood

February 1, 2022

Barry Nelson Wood, 80, of Pine Grove, PA and Houston, PA passed away on February 1, 2022 at Country Meadows in Hershey, PA from cancer.

He was born in Pottsville, PA on September 30, 1941 and was the son of Girard and Erma Beck Wood.  His parents preceded him in death, along with maternal grandparents Nelson and Edna Schneck Beck, Pine Grove, paternal grandparents William and Florence Wood, Branchdale, a cousin Linda Lou Beck Felty, Lebanon and a niece Traci Shott, Pine Grove.  Also preceding Barry was Kenneth E Britten.  He was his companion for many years and on December 9, 2014 they were married and spent the last 6 years together until November 4, 2020 when Kenny died.

Barry grew up in Pine Grove.  His love of the theater began early in his life.  As a child he would go to the Pine Grove movie theater along with his sisters to see whatever was playing.  At that time the theater was run by Irvin Gassert.  The cost was 12 cents and they all had 5 cents to put in the candy machine.  So now you know why he always said "I was a boy who grew up at the Saturday matinee."

From there he attended St Peter's Reformed Church (now UCC) and jumped right in to help others develop short skits with the Youth Fellowship Group.  Barry was crazy over musicals.  He fell in love with all Jeannette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy movies.  He joined their fan club and I am sure he was one of their biggest fans.

He graduated from Pine Grove High School in the Class of 1959.  After high school he continued his education in McCann's Business School in Harrisburg and then went to work at the Veteran's Administration in Washington DC.  While he was there he and his sister, Maxine, had the pleasure to meet Nelson Eddy in person, one of the highlights of his life.  From there he attended Berea College in Kentucky and received a B.A. in English and Speech in 1969.  Barry met Jannette Pugh when he went to Berea College in 1969.  They were married in Pine Grove on August 22, 1970.  Barry started in Peters Township in 1971 and for his first several plays she made a lot of the costumes.  They later divorced in July 1977.  It was a very friendly divorce and they have always been in contact with each other.

In 1971 he was hired at Peters Township by Dr Howard Jack and continued to teach English and Theater for 39 years and retired in June 2010.  During those years he put on muscials, comedies, dramas, dancing, etc. using any of the students wherever he needed them.  Sometimes they would have several plays during the year.  Now that wasn't all!  At the end of the school year they would have an awards program for the students.  Just like the Academy Awards for movies.  They had a 20 year reunion to honor Barry and those students who were involved with all of the plays.  His 3 sisters attended.  After all the ceremonies and the honoring of Mr Wood they told him they are now going to name the award.   It is now known as the "Barry Award".

He received a Master of Arts in Teaching (Education) from the University of Pittsburgh in 1972 and a Master of Fine Arts in Theater (Directing) from Ohio University in 1971.

In 2007, he returned to his High School Alumni Banquet to receive the Distinguished Alumnus Award for all his outstanding achievements during his teaching.

He was a teacher and director for Peters Township, McMurray, Carnegie Mellon University, Penn State University, Washington and Jefferson College, Waynesburg University, Berkshire Center for the Performing Arts, and director and choreographer for the Washington Community Theater.

He established the Annual Awards Ceremony at Peters Township, the Peters Dance Company and was Co-founder of the Hillside Players and The Thespian Troupe 185. 

He was named to the Teacher Excellence Center's Hall of Fame in Pittsburgh, a nominee for the Disney Teacher Award and invited to the American High School Festival in Scotland.

He was a Deacon and Elder at the First Presbyterian Church 1793 in Washington.  He received the Dr Howard Jack Outstanding Public Educator Award.  This award came from the man himself who hired him and always remained an inspiration and mentor to him.

Surviving him are his three sisters, Maxine (Terry) Zimmerman, Pine Grove, Pamela (Fred) Grabe, Florida, Wanda (Fred) Schneck, Pine Grove, cousins, niece, nephews.

Memorial services will be held at the convenience of the family.  In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in his memory to the First Presbyterian Church 1793 at 100 E Wheeling St, Washington PA  15301.

We the family would like to thank Country Meadows of Bridgeville and Hershey for taking care of our brother and also Grane Hospice Care from Camp Hill for seeing him through his end stages but most important were Barry's former students and precious true friends that were faithful with their gifts, cards, phone calls and amazing and memorable letters.  You were the best.

And now Barry this completes your final act in life - you may now "EXIT STAGE LEFT".

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First Presbyterian Church 1793
100 E. Wheeling St., Washington PA 15301

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