Robert J. “Bob” Wood, age 63 went to be with the Lord on Friday, April 23, 2021, surrounded by his wife and five children. Even as his body failed, his spirit remained strong and he claimed the promise of his Savior and let the shelter of God’s hand lead him into paradise.
Bob was born September 27, 1957, in Geneva, IL to Ruth Wood Lindgren and David Wood.
While Bob grew up in Geneva, IL attending local schools, his summers were spent on Lake Vermillion to be closer to his father who had passed before his birth. Bob’s passions for fishing and the outdoors started at a very young age and grew each summer he spent at the lake.
Bob graduated from Geneva High School with the class of 1975. He continued his education that celebrated his love for the outdoors at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, where he studied forestry. Although he had a passion for the work, he believed he would be unable to support the family he wanted. Upon this realization, Bob transferred to Northern Illinois University where he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry in 1980. Later in life, Bob received his MBA from Harvard University in 2000.
Bob entered the workforce at Stepan Company in the Agricultural Surfactants Lab. In 1982, Bob moved to Polymers where he spent the rest of his career. He was instrumental in helping develop seven patents, and eventually became the Polyols Lab Manager. Soon after Bob moved over to the commercial side and became Business Manager of Polyols. There Bob worked diligently helping to grow Polymers to a global level, ending his career at Stepan as VP and General Manager of Global Polymers. Bob loved his work, he dedicated it to the Lord and many mornings when he arrived early would pray for those who worked for him, their families and for the company. He did his best to encourage and support those who came to work for him not only in their careers but their lives as well. He traveled all over the world for business and made many important and lasting friendships. Bob retired from Stepan Company in 2014 after a successful thirty four years. Although Bob was ready to spend the rest of his life fishing 365 days a year, the prospect of building a family business was too appealing and in late 2014, J6 Polymers LLC was formed. Bob was able to see J6 polymers grow on a foundation of faith and values. He also wanted to give encouragement to other young people who were beginning on their career paths. His approach to business never waned and the vision he had for the J6 polymers team will keep everyone busy for a long time to come.
Bob met Sandra K. “Sandy” Cornell in the church they both grew up in. That foundation of faith would be the bedrock of their relationship and on top of which they both would celebrate a family of five children. They were united in marriage on February 13, 1982, at the First Baptist Church in Geneva. They began their new life in Des Plaines for a year before moving to Hanover Park. They then bought their first home in Round Lake Park, and in 1990 they moved to St. Charles into the home which Bob built himself for his growing family. 21 years of cherished memories were made there before coming to Kingston, IL in 2011.
In keeping with his love for wildlife and forestry, Bob was a member of the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation in Dundee, IL. He also served as a Deacon and then as an Elder in the Global Missions Church, where he had enjoyed many years of working with the young people of the church.
Bob was one of a kind. He was not bashful, nor quiet, and always ready for an easy laugh. His spirit was strong and his faith stronger; he lead by example and was always thirsty for knowledge. He was very driven and lived his life around goals, learning to set them at an early age. At the young age of 17, he purchased property on Lake Vermillion in Tower, MN. Lake Vermillion was a very special place for Bob and his family. The property he bought on Black Duck Island grew from a family campsite, to include a boathouse he and his son Jon built and eventually a log cabin that hosted family and friends. On the lake, Bob enjoyed hours of fishing, hauling in prized catches. Bob taught all his children how to fish but never how to catch fish. He kept the knowledge he gained over his lifetime to himself and waited for his children to learn for themselves. This helped him maintain the family bragging rights for the most and the biggest fish on trips. Only after his children caught on did he open up about the art of catching fish. Bob loved to fish whether it would be alone when he would spend time talking to the Lord or with his children and friends when they would talk about life and of course friendly arguments over who caught the most or the biggest (in case he lost the most). He would often tease his children as they got older and weren’t always able to make a trip to the cabin, that if they didn’t come soon he would vote them off the island. With no television and limited phone service, evenings and bad weather days were spent playing games. A lively game of spoons would dissolve quickly into a wrestling match under the table. Bob’s goal was made clear, “winner takes all”. There were also the many family road trips to various church camps and other must-see destinations across the U.S. and Canada. Bob handled those as he did most things, as the next big challenge with high expectations. How do you get all the luggage, and a family of seven into a van? Next, how do you get from one destination to the other as quickly as possible with as few stops as possible? Also, how do you get seven people in one hotel room without being noticed? There are many wonderful family stories about these trips all of which are filled with laughter and a lot of love. Bob enjoyed attending many of his children’s activities. From football and baseball games, track and cross country meets, swim meets, and music performances he was always there to cheer on his kids. Sometimes louder than they wanted. His loss will darken many a day, but like his smile, Bob’s memories will ensure a bright future for all those who loved him.
He is survived by his loving wife of 39 years, Sandy Wood; five children: Jennifer Wood, Jonathon Wood, Jessica Wood (JP Sweeney), James (Kim) Wood and Joshua Wood; two grandchildren: Easton and Lily Wood; one brother, David Wood; one cousin Linda Johnson and family and friends that span the countryside as well as the globe.
He is preceded by his parents, David and Ruth Wood; three aunts: Astrid Johnson, Margaret Johnson, Mildred Johnson and one Uncle Harold Johnson.
A memorial service will begin at 1 p.m. on Friday, May 21, 2021 at his home, 12085 Base Line Rd., Kingston, IL, with a time of visitation to follow until 4 p.m. The service and visitation will be held outdoors, and all are welcome. If inclement weather is predicted the service will be moved to J6 Polymers 601 Derby Line Rd Genoa IL.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in Bob’s name to benefit his favorite charities. Checks may be made to the “Robert J. Wood Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address, the Conley Funeral Home Facebook Page, or at www.conleycare.com.