BIO Index

Mary Jane Wood


Unfortunately I won't be able to make the reunion, but so many other of my former classmates have shared their bios, that I thought the least I could do is take the time to try and write something relatively coherent. The day after graduation from high school my entire family moved to Houston, Texas. Four months later I enlisted in the Air Force, where, after basic and then basic medical, I was sent to Montgomery Alabama to be trained as a dental laboratory technician. Yes, the trained me to make teeth, specifically crowns and bridges. After graduation I was sent to Travis Air Force Base just north of San Francisco. After four years I left the Air Force and worked for a while as a dental lab tech until I decided I wanted to go to school as a Physical Education major. Moved from California to Maryland to attend Towson State Teachers College (now known as Towson State University). At the end of my freshman year I injured my back and had to have a spinal fusion, which prohibited me from continuing as a physical education major. In addition, I didn't have any insurance for my medical bills, so returning to the work force was required to pay off some bills.

In 1970 I was able to return to school, so I enrolled at the University of Maryland as a Sociology/Criminolgy major. I received my bachelors, then a Master in Criminology and then I decided to go whole hog and get that doctorate. I was tired of studying why people did bad things, or were sick, or were crazy, whatever, so I pursued my doctorate in Human Development/Psychology with a specialization in Couples therapy.

In the meantime I had met my life partner, Patricia, when I was tutoring other graduate students in statistics and research methodology. I received my doctorate in 1983, the same day that Patricia received her Masters in Library Science. I had been in private practice as a therapist for several years both prior to and after I got the Ph.D., and I also was very actively involved with the Whitman Walker Clinic which was a clinic that offered many different services to gays and lesbians in the Washington, DC area. This was right at about the time that what became known as the HIV/AIDS epidemic was becoming a national issue and Whitman Walker Clinic became the primary HIV/AIDS provider in the DC area. As a result I was heavily involved in doing therapeutic services for gay couples affected by this disease. I also became involved in the actual running of the clinic first as a volunteer therapist and then as a board member, and eventually President of their Board.

In 1988, Pat felt that she needed to move back to San Francisco as her parents were getting elderly, her father had cancer and her mother had had a stroke. So we pulled up stakes, sold our home and moved to the golden gate city of San Francisco. Neither of us had a job and I wasn't licensed to provide services in California, but family is important as we all know. I ended up working exclusively for AIDS service providers as an administrator, manager. First, for an HIV/AIDS day service provider and then as, first, the Associate Director of the San Mateo County AIDS Program as their program director, and then as the Director of the AIDS Program. In the meantime, Pat's father and then her mother died and we moved into the home that she had been born and raised in.

In 2002, Patricia died suddenly after surgery, which kept my head spinning for quite a while, but I continued working until March of 2005 when I retired. Within five days after retirement, I was moving across the country to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, where I bought a home and started enjoying various activities I had little time for when working. Some people would say I am a golf addict, others say they never know when I am in town or out traveling the world. My favorite place was China. I am into genealogy, going to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City annually. For quite a while I owned an RV and traveled around to various locations where my ancestors had lived. I'm big on county court houses, libraries and cemeteries. I'm thinking about buying another RV soon.

That about covers what has being going on with me for the past 50 years. Some really good stuff, some not so good stuff, but overall it's been a pretty good life. I'm in good health and hope that the good times just keep rolling on.

Sorry I won't make the reunion, but include me in any toast to the great school and community that we all had the privilege of experiencing. I have attached my senior class picture and a picture of Pat and myself celebrating our degrees in 1983. I know I have more recent pictures of myself but they don't seem to be in this computer. I am currently in Florida and don't have access to hard copy pictures to scan in.

Mary Jane Wood