Obituary Notices and Memorials

 
 

WOOD, TRAVIS
WOOD, Travis Inventor, scientist, and devoted family-man, passed away suddenly in Lancaster, California at age 47. He was born to Billy and Ellen Wood in December 1962, in Endicott, New York. Shortly after, his family moved back to Phoenix, Arizona where he spent his childhood and early adulthood. In his youth, Travis learned electronics beside his father in his workshop. He was always looking for unusual ways to accomplish mundane tasks, including: as a six-year-old he built an elevator out of a cardboard box and twine that he (almost) used to get down from the roof; and as a preteen he employed old Army telephones and wires run through the alley to link all the children in the neighborhood in the age before cell phones. By the time he entered high school, technology was second-nature to Travis. So it was no surprise that he built a robot while a sophomore in 1978, that earned him the Grand Award at Arizona's State Science Fair and a trip to Florida to compete in the International Science and Engineering Fair. This was just the first of his forays into the field of robotics, as later in life he competed in the Battlebots, BotBash and RoboMagellan competitions. Travis graduated from Trevor Browne High School in 1980, earned three AA degrees from Glendale Community College, and received his BS in Electronic Engineering and Computer Technology from Arizona State University in 1990. At ASU, Travis was part of the solar car team and built a solar car that traveled from Florida to California powered entirely by the sun. This experience was the precursor to his later hobbies developing computer vision devices for use with autonomous robotic vehicles after graduation. At ASU, he participated in the Dr. Who club, where he met the love of his life Katherine, the daughter of Henry and Louise Clark. After graduation, Travis took a job at Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) so that he could be close to Katherine, who was an aerospace engineer at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Travis and Katherine married in 1992, and began their lives together in Lancaster, California. All of the technological achievements mentioned above were sidebars to his career in advanced U.S. Air Force, Navy and NASA systems. Travis work for CSC supported flutter and climatic testing of a variety of USAF aircraft, including: the F-16, C-17, AC-130, F-22 and B-2 Bomber. One of his most memorable activities was his deployment in 1995, to El Mira, New York in support of the Schweizer glider (RG-8) flight test program. In 1998, Travis took a job working for a support contractor at NASA-Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards AFB. In this role, he developed complex X-vehicle simulators and assets for the Test Range, including a camera system that tracks the Space Shuttle when it lands at Edwards. In 2000, Travis and Katherine were blessed with their first child, Garrick. When Katherines maternity leave ran out, Travis decided to stay home with Garrick to give him the best possible care. In 2002, Travis and Katherine were blessed with their second child, Veronica. Travis took the kids to mommy-dad-and-me classes and spent time with them, teaching them but always having fun too. He felt blessed every time he got to be there for one of their "firsts" grasping, smiling, laughing, crawling, talking, standing, walking, and climbing. Travis continued his role as fantastic stay-at-home dad until 2007, when he resumed full-time work by taking a position at China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station.Travis was a member of Our Saviors Lutheran Church. He was a licensed Ham Radio operator, call number AE6GA. His life hobbies included riding roller-coasters, piloting hang gliders and ultralight aircraft, and encouraging friends and family members to also have the thrill of their lives in similar ways. Travis was even on a reality television show 'Escape from Experiment Island' where he was chosen due to his incredible practical knowledge of science and technology. He loved to travel, go on adventures, go to the movies and read books. Travis was the guy who could fix or invent anything. He was happiest as proud father - seeing his childrens achievements in scouts, sports, music, school and life - like when they rode their bikes without the training wheels or learned to swim. He loved to have fun with his family and friends. Travis is survived by his wife Katherine, his son Garrick and daughter Veronica, his sister Lorelei, mother Ellen, father Billy, and two nephews, J.J and Taylor. He will be missed by all, and his influence will continue on in everyone he touched during his rich and rewarding 47 years on the planet. A viewing will be held at 6 p.m., Friday, February 5, 2010, at Halley-Olsen-Murphy, Lancaster Chapel. A memorial will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, February 6, 2010, at Our Saviors Lutheran Church. A funeral and burial will be held at Mariposa Gardens Memorial Park and Funeral Home in Mesa Arizona on Saturday, February 13, 2010. We have a website set up to remember Travis. It can be found at: https://sites.google.com/site/rememberingtravis/home

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