Robert J. "Bob" Wood, 88, of Lebanon, died on Wednesday, December 11th at the Frisbie Memorial Hospital in Rochester, NH. Robert was born on June 1, 1925 to Herbert and Carrie (Wiggen) Wood in Lebanon where he grew up and attended local schools. In 1943, with WWII raging across Europe and in the Pacific, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy at age 17, eventually attaining the rank of Gunner's Mate Second Class. He served in the U.S. Navy from April 1943 to February 1946. Robert reported for duty aboard the carrier USS Block Island CVE-21, the first of two escort carriers to bear that name. Joining the Atlantic Fleet in 1943, following two trips from New York City to Belfast, Ireland to deliver Army P-47 fighters, USS Block Island, commenced operations as part of an anti-submarine, hunter-killer group. During four cruises, Block Island's planes sank two u-boats.On May 29, 1944, the tables turned however, when U-549 slipped undetected through her defensive screen, torpedoing and sinking the Block Island with a spread of three torpedoes off the Canary Islands, losing 6 men before the u-boat itself was sunk in that action by one of the anti-submarine destroyers. Robert was credited with saving the life of a fellow sailor, who stayed in touch with him for the remainder of their lives, calling him on the anniversary of the sinking. After being picked up in the water and crammed aboard Navy destroyers of the task force's defensive screen, the surviving crew of 674 men were taken to Casablanca where Robert arrived on his birthday, and along with the rest of the crew, issued Army khakis in an effort to keep the news of the sinking from German spies. After receiving 30 days survivor leave, the ship's skipper began an intensive campaign to keep his crew together to serve aboard a new Block Island, bearing the same name, fully realizing the benefit of a veteran crew. Following shake down cruises, the plank owners aboard the newly minted USS Block Island, CVE-106, arrived off the shore of Okinawa on 3 May 1945 to support invasion operations. On 16 June 1945 she steamed to Leyte where she participated in operations as well. She also took part in the Balikpapan operations. Following the cessation of fighting with Japan she was directed to Taiwan to provide evacuation of Allied prisoners. She was placed in service in reserve on 28 May 1946. Both USS Block Island CVE-21, and USS Block Island CVE-106 would garner two battle stars apiece during WWII. Following the war, he would return home, marrying Marietta Stuart in 1946, and together they shared 67 years and raised seven children. Robert worked several places during his life including the Goodall Mills in Sanford, Hubbard Shoe in East Rochester and Cyro Industries in Sanford where he was employed for 25 years until retiring in 1987. He was a very outgoing man with many friends and enjoyed spending time with people. He was a member of the North Lebanon Second Baptist Church, the Little River Grange and coached Lebanon Little League for many years. Robert was an avid Red Sox fan and enjoyed growing vegetables in his garden. He will be remembered as a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather and will be dearly missed by his family and friends, a common denominator as a member of what Tom Brokaw once described as "The Greatest Generation." Surviving are his wife, Marietta Wood of Lebanon; seven children, Steven Wood and his wife Brenda of Bowie, MD, Cynthia Poore and her husband Alan of Lebanon, Sandra Pray and her husband Gary of Lebanon, Roberta Sullivan and her husband Michael of Cape Neddick, Russell Wood and his wife Carol of Lebanon, Bruce Wood and his wife Laurie of Lebanon, Rebecca Wozmak and her husband Albert of Lebanon; 14 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at 1:00 PM on Friday, December 20th at the North Lebanon Second Baptist Church located at 256 Bakers Grant Road in Lebanon. Interment with military honors will be held in the spring at the Forest Grove Cemetery in Lebanon. Those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider the North Lebanon Second Baptist Church Steeple Fund, 256 Bakers Grant Road, Lebanon, Maine 04027. Arrangements are under the direction of Black Funeral Homes and Cremation Service, Sanford-Springvale. Condolences can be expressed at the Condolences tab at left.