Tireless Volunteer Anne Wood Dies

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Virginia Anne Wood passed away Saturday, May 26, with loved ones by her side.  Anne, a Laguna Beach resident since 1965, was recently in the care of the amazing staff at Arbor View 2 in Mission Viejo due to Alzheimer’s.

Anne Wood

Anne was born to Burris and Margaret Wood June 8, 1932, in Sacramento. She was preceded in death by both her parents and her only sibling, James “Woody” Burris Wood.

Anne graduated from C.K. McClatchy High School in 1950 and then received her Bachelor of Arts from Chapman College (now Chapman University) in 1954.  She later returned to Chapman and received her master’s degree in 1972.  In 1954 she commenced a 39-year love affair with teaching beginning with Bret Harte Elementary in Sacramento, and then Santa Fe Elementary in Oakland.  Thereafter she spent six years teaching with the Army Overseas Schools first in Metz, France, and then in Berlin, Germany.  She arrived in Europe shortly after the Berlin Wall was erected, was held hostage by Russians on board a duty train, and joined the Berlin International Theater Group.

Anne loved the overseas experience and built many life-long friendships.  She never missed an opportunity to travel, be it simply to her beloved cabin at the Russian River, or to see close friends throughout the world. Anne returned to California in 1965 and began teaching for the Anaheim Elementary School District before being transferred to Brookhurst Jr. High School where she taught reading and drama along with “other duties as assigned” until her retirement in 1993.

She also enjoyed working with the Laguna Playhouse theater in Laguna Beach doing some acting but preferred being behind the scenes as stage manager, pushing sets, calling cues, etc. After retirement, Anne added the title “volunteer” to her cap with numerous groups in Laguna Beach, including The Woman’s Club (2012’s “Woman of the Year”), Chamber of Commerce, Laguna Club for Kids, Friendship Shelter, Laguna Beach Resource and Relief, Patriot’s Day Parade Committee, to name a few.

In 2005 the Laguna Beach Exchange Club honored her with inclusion in their “Book of Golden Deeds.” She had maintained her membership with Primrose Chapter No. 385, of the Order of the Eastern Star (of Sacramento) since the early 1950s. Anne was a long time member of Chapman University’s Town & Gown.  She was very proud of their fundraising mission and dearly loved their social events. Anne cherished all these friendships. The Neighborhood Congregational Church (NCC) was also very dear to her.  She tirelessly volunteered for a variety of duties and committees since joining the congregation in 1972.

A celebration of life, and what a full life it was, will be held at NCC on Saturday, June 23, 340 St. Ann’s Dr., Laguna Beach, at 1:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Chapman University for the Town & Gown Endowed Scholarship atwww.chapman.edu/tg or to a charity dear to you.


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  1. Anne Wood was a true friend to all who had the good fortune to know her. She loved to be involved with her community and she was proud to be an alumna of Chapman University. Anne had a warm heart and was quick to embrace a stranger. After all, that stranger was just a friend she hadn’t met yet.

  2. I so enjoyed working with Anne through the Town and Gown Board. I really liked talking with her as she walked her dog around Chapman’s campus. Anne had great stories to tell and an independent spirit to go with them. She will be missed!!

  3. Ms. Wood was my drama teacher at Brookhurst Jr., in the 1970’s. I was her class room custodian for a while during the 80’s, when attending college. She was an awesome teacher and friend!! She will be missed!


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