Sunday’s Obituary – Sarah (Decker) Strait – Died 02-November-1986

Relationship to me: wife of grand uncle

This obituary was a clipping that my grandmother, Beatrice Strait, clipped in 1986 from the New Jersey Herald.

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-6-40-44-pm“Sarah Strait” – Andover Twp. – Sarah E. Strait, 69, of Brighton Road, died Sunday at Newton Memorial Hospital after a long illness.  Born in Byram, she was a lifelong resident of Andover Township.  She and her husband, Carl, owned Strait’s Turkey Farm in the township from 1947-62, and also owned the Holiday Motel, in the township, from 1964-76.  Mrs. Strait is survived by her husband, Carl; three daughters, Patricia Toye, Nancy Dannhart and Sarah Sheehan, all of Andover Township; two brothers, Francis Decker of Andover Township, and Wilbur Decker of Shalimar, Fla., and six grandchildren.  Services and interment are at the convenience of the family.  Expressions of sympathy can be made to Newton Memorial Hospital, 175 High Street, Newton, 07860.  Arrangements are being handled by the Smith-McCracken Funeral Home, 63 High Street, Newton.

Advertisements

52 Documents in 52 Weeks #43 – John Kimball’s 1870 Census

Person of Interest: John (or Jonathan) W. Kimball
Relationship: 3rd great-grandfather


Source Citation: 1870 U. S. census, Sussex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Hardyston Township, p. 8 (penned), dwelling 62, family 62, Jno W. Kimble; digital image, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 November 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 889.


Document Description: These documents are part of the Ninth Census of the United States which was taken in 1870. It is the ninth census taken since 1790. The U.S. census counts every resident in the United States. It is mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution and takes place every 10 years. The U.S. Census Bureau is responsible for taking the censuses. After 72 years (and not before owing to privacy reasons), the records are released to the public by the National Archives and Records Administration.  The U.S. Census Bureau provides the interested researcher a great overview of each census. In the 1870 overview, we find that Ulysses S. Grant was president, that the 1870 Census was conducted under the authority of the Census Act of 1850. However, a new law, approved on May 6, 1870, called for two procedural changes:

  1. The marshals were to submit the returns from the population questionnaire to the Census Office by September 10, 1870; all other questionnaires were due by October 1, 1870.
  2. Penalties for refusing to reply to enumerator inquiries were expanded to cover all questions asked on all questionnaires.

After the Civil War, the decennial census questionnaires were reordered and redesigned to account for end of the “slave questionnaire.” The schedules for the 1870 census were: General Population, Mortality, Agriculture, Products of Industry, and Social Statistics.

Another interesting fact about the 1870 had to do with technological advances.

“By 1870, the job of tallying and tabulating questionnaire responses was becoming overly burdensome for the Census Office. This problem was partially alleviated with the use of a rudimentary tallying machine, invented by the chief clerk of the Census Office, and later superintendent, Charles W. Seaton.”

Both Ancestry.com (fee site) and FamilySearch.org (free) offers digitized copies of the census and are searchable by name. The History and Growth of the United States Census: 1790 – 1890 was a document prepared for the Senate Committee on the Census in 1900 and as written by Carroll D. Wright, the Commissioner of Labor, and William C. Hunt, Chief Statistician of the 12th census. If you’re into statistics or reading up on the historical background of the censuses, this is a great document to dig into.


Documents Scan/Transcription: Numbers relate to columns on the population schedule

Notes found at the top of the schedule: Inquiries numbered 7, 16, and 17 are not to be asked in request to infants. Inquiries numbered 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 19, and 20 are to be answered (if at all) merely by an affirmative mark, as /.

Header
Page No. 8; Schedule 1. – Inhabitants in Hardyston Township, in the County of Sussex, State of NJ, enumerated by me on the 30 day of [indeterminate], 1870.; Post Office: Sparta, N.J.; L. H. Andress, Ass’t Marshal.

Detail
lines 19-31, Jno W., Nancy, George, Lucy, Wm, James, David, Garret, Julia F., Sarah M., Henry E., Noah and Lewis [respectively with ; between]

Place of Abode
1. Dwelling number in order of visitation: 62
2. Family number in order of visitation: 62

Household Data
3. Name: Kimball Jon W.; —- Nancy; —- George; —- Lucy; —- Wm; —- James; —- David; —- Garret; —- Julia F.; —- Sarah M.; —- Henry E.; —- Noah; —- Lewis
4. Age at last birthday: 49; 43; 22; 21; 18; 14; 13; 12; 5; 16; 14; 2; 6/12
5. Sex: M; F; M; F; M; M; M; M; F; F; M; M; M
6. Color: W; W; W; W; W; W; W; W; W; W; W; W; W
7. Profession, Occupation or Trade of each person, male or female: Farm Laborer; Housewife; Farm Laborer; Domestic Serv.; Farm Laborer; Farm Laborer; Farm Laborer; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]

Value of Real Estate Owned
8. Real Estate: [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]
9. Personal Estate: 125; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]

Nativity
10: Place of birth: New Jersey; New Jersey; New Jersey; New Jersey; New Jersey; New Jersey; New Jersey; New Jersey; New Jersey; New Jersey; New Jersey; New Jersey; New Jersey
11. Father of foreign birth: [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]
12. Mother of foreign birth: [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]

Birth and Marriage
13. If born within year, state month: [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]
14. If married within year, state month: [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]

Education
15. Attended school within the year: [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; yes; yes; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]
16. Cannot read: [blank]; yes; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; yes; yes; [blank]; yes; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]
17. Cannot write: [blank]; yes; [blank]; yes; [blank]; [blank]; yes; yes; [blank]; yes; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]

Health
18. Whether deaf and dumb, blind, insane or idiotic: [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]

Constitutional Relations
19. Male Citizens of 21 years or upwards: yes; [blank]; yes; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]
20. Male Citizens of 21 years or upwards who cannot vote: [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]; [blank]


Analysis: The above listings/transcriptions are a bit hard to read, I admit it. So why go through the pain of typing it all out? It forced me to look at every single box and tick mark and code and notation. So, let’s put the above in a more user-friendly, narrative format:

The Hardyston Township, Sussex County, New Jersey, household of Jonathan W. Kimball (49) consisted of himself and 12 other individuals. They were, in order of entry: Nancy (43), George (22), Lucy (21), Wm (18), James (14), David (13), Garret (12), Julia F. (5), Sarah M. (16), Henry E. (14), Noah (2) and Lewis (6/12). Jonathan was working as a farm laborer and listed no real estate of value and only $125.oo in personal estate. Other farm laborers in the household were George, William, James, and David. Lucy was working as a domestic servant. All were reported as being born in New Jersey with no foreign born parents. Nancy, the oldest female in the household, could not read or write. Lucy could read but was listed as not being able to write. William and James had both attended school within the year.  David, Garret, and Sarah M. were listed as not being able to read or write. Jonathan and George were the only males over 21 in the household and were able to vote. 

It doesn’t hurt to go look at the enumerator instructions to see how things were to be reported. The IPUMS, which stands for the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, website has a handy place to look up all enumerator instructions for the 1870 census. Some of the more interesting instructions found there include:

  • Assistant Marshals will, however, make as little show as possible of authority. They will approach every individual in a conciliatory manner; respect the prejudices of all; adapt their inquiries to the comprehension of foreigners and persons of limited education; and strive in every way to relieve the performance of their duties from the appearance of obtrusiveness. Anything like an overbearing disposition should be an absolute disqualification for the position.
  • Families.-By “family (column 2) is meant one or more persons living together and provided for in common.
  • Names of individuals.-In column 3 will be entered the name of every person in each family, of whatever age, including the names of such as were temporarily absent on the 1st day of June, 1870. … The name of the father, mother, or other ostensible head ofthe family (in the case of hotels, jails, etc., the landlord, jailor, etc.) is to be entered first of the family.
  • Property.-Column 8 will contain the value of all real estate owned by the person enumerated, without any deduction on account of mortgage or other incumbrance, whether within or without the census subdivision or the country. The value meant is the full market value, known or estimated.
  • “Personal estate,” column 9, is to be inclusive of all bonds, stocks, mortgages, notes, live stock, plate, jewels, or furniture, but exclusive of wearing apparel. No report will be made when the personal property is under $100.

My goal was to find new-to-me documents for each post this year. This document was already in my collection but it has something interesting about it I felt the need to discuss here. Unfortunately, the 1870 census did not ask for relationships to the head of household. That began in 1880. Other than the fact that the head of household (father or mother or other person) were be listed first, I found nothing useful about how the other members of the household were to be listed. I was hoping to find instructions that told the enumerator to list the children in birth order or boys then girls or some other method. No luck. So any speculation on relationships for this 1870 census is just that. Let’s speculate.

In table format, in listed order we have:

  1. Jno. W. Kimble, 49
  2. Nancy Kimble, 43
  3. George, 22
  4. Lucy, 21
  5. William, 18
  6. James, 14
  7. David, 13
  8. Garret, 12
  9. Julia F., 5
  10. Sarah, 16
  11. Henry, 14
  12. Noah, 2
  13. Lewis, 6/12

The following things make me wonder about the familial relationships within family #62 in this census.

  • James and Henry are the same age. If they were twins, why wouldn’t they be listed together? Parents, most times, refer to twins together as one unit.
  • Why are Sarah (16) and Henry (14) stuck between the 5-year old and the 2-year old?
  • There is a pretty big age gap between Garret (12) and Julia F. (5). Were there some stillbirths?
  • Most large families like this have a more consistent 2 year spacing of children. George and Lucy are only one year apart. James, David and Garret are only one year apart.
  • If the mother is the informant on this census, I would think that the children would be more in birth order. Was Jonathan the informant then, thus, the inconsistent listing of children?
  • Was the enumerator just disorganized and listed the children in somewhat random order?

I can come up with one scenario that might explain what is going on here. Both Jonathan and Nancy may have lost their former spouses. They may have since married each other and combined households. I would then speculate that George, Lucy, William, James, David, Garret and Julia belonged to Jonathan, while Sarah and Henry belonged to Nancy, and that Noah and Lewis were the progeny of their union. But again, this is just speculation. A good researcher would need to combine this document with others to be certain.

CONCLUSION

Looking at this census alone in a vacuum brings up more questions about the Jno. W. Kimble family than it answers for me. I’m uncomfortable with saying this is one family unit with Jonathan and Nancy as the biological parents to all the children listed. Unless I had other information to corroborate this document, I wouldn’t even want to put it into my family tree program as a source. That to-do list just keeps getting longer and longer…

Sunday’s Obituary – Mercedes Marie (Strait) Scabet – Died 05-March-2015

Relationship to me: paternal aunt.

Published in the New Jersey Herald 08 March 2015 and online at Legacy.com (Mercedes “Sadie” Scabet)

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-11-19-00-am

Obituary – NEWTON – Mercedes “Sadie” M. Scabet, 78, of Newton, died Thursday, March 5, 2015, at Harris Health Care Center at Bristol Glen.

Born in Newton, Sadie was a lifelong resident of Newton. She was the quality engineer at the former United Telephone in Newton for 35 years before her retirement. A graduate of Newton High School, Sadie was a member of St. Joseph R.C. Church and was an avid bowler.

The daughter of the late William C. Strait, Sr., and Beatrice Irene (Repsher) Strait, Sadie is survived by her husband of 52 years, James W. Scabet, and five stepchildren: Carol Stang and husband, Robert, of Coopersburg, Pa., Maureen Slack of Hampton, James Scabet, Jr., and wife, Sandra, of Stillwater, Michael Scabet of Diberville, Miss., and David Scabet and wife, Lorraine, of Bridgeville, Del.; one brother, William Strait of Andover Township; 12 step-grandchildren; 10 step-great-grandchildren; and three nieces, Jody [sic, should be Jodi], Jill and Jennie [sic, should be Jenni]. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday at the Smith-McCracken Funeral Home, Newton. Entombment will follow in St. Joseph Cemetery Mausoleum, Newton. Visitation will be held Monday, March 9, from 2-to-4 and 7-to-9 p.m. at the funeral home.

Memorial donations may be made to Newton First Aid & Rescue Squad, PO Box 5, Newton, 07860.

 

52 Documents in 52 Weeks #42 – Albert Westra’s Form AR-2

Albert Westa, circa 1985, holding one of his tabletop models

Albert Westa, circa 1985, holding one of his tabletop windmills

Person of Interest: Albert Westra, born in Dronrijp, Netherlands, settled in Sussex County, New Jersey
Relationship: Grandfather


Source Citation: Albert Westra, alien registration no. 4391398, 10 December 1940, Alien Registration (Form AR-2), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services – Genealogy Program, Washington, D.C.


Document Description: This two-page alien registration form (AR-2) was created by the United States Department of Justice through what was then Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). The paper is 8-1/2 by 11″ and contains personal information related to my grandfather including his right index fingerprint and signature. The sheets are copies of the original records found in the genealogy section files of the modern U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Genealogy Program as part of the larger U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Albert Westra was assigned file number 4391398 when he registered his alien status.


Background information regarding the Alien Registration Act of 1940 (Smith Act): The National Archives has a wonderful document called The A-files: Finding Your Immigrant Ancestors written by Elizabeth Burns and Marie Louie that outlines what exactly the A-files are, how they came about, and how they can be accessed now. I’ll share a few excerpts with you here:

“Thee Alien Registration Act of 1940 required that all persons who were not citizens or nationals of the United States and were living within U.S. borders go to the local post office and register their alien status with the government. The registration process included filling out a questionnaire and having finngerprints taken. Certain exclusions applied for diplomats, employees of foreign governments, and children under the age of 14.”

“A series of radio PSAs promoted registration. The PSAs said participation supported democracy and called on Americans to aid their alien neighbors in completing the registration process. A number of officials of foreign descent—German, Italian, Polish, etc.—spoke to audiences in their native tongues to ease fears about the registration restricting or violating their rights. To bolster support, newspapers across the country published numerous photographs of actors and musicians who were aliens completing the registration process.”

“Government officials expected around 3.6 million registrants, but final counts saw more than five million forms submitted. The completed AR-2 and the correlating A-Number became the foundation on which the Alien Files (A-Files) were later built.”

What would have prompted this registration drive? Simply put: Paranoia.

By 1940, it was becoming ever clearer that the United States would not be able to sit on the sidelines as the European War raged and expanded. Concerns over spies and betrayal from within country grew and 76th United State Congress passed an act that defined the criminal penalties for advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government. Additionally, all non-citizen adult residents were required to register with the government. Thus, the creation of the AR-2 form. Registrations began on 27 August 1940 and, besides answering the 15 questions present on the form, required the registrants to be fingerprinted. It wasn’t a full set of fingerprints, just the right index finger. But that still made many people nervous which precipitated the Public Service Announcements (talked about above) to alleviate concerns about being added to a “list” the stigma of having one’s fingerprints taken. By January of 1941, the number of alien registrants had passed the 4.7 million mark.


albertar2001

Cover letter

Document Scan and Transcription: This first document is the cover letter from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Genealogy Program sent to me along with my grandfather’s two-page AR-2 completed form. They acknowledged that they had received my request on 11 August 2011 regarding information on my grandfather “Ale” Westra born 13 March 1908 in the Netherlands. Success! They found his file and were forwarding documents to me. It was signed by Lynda K. Spencer, chief of the Genealogy Section.

Pop quiz: Is this an original document? Go ahead, click on the document, and look closely. I’ll wait. The answer is no, it’s been tampered with! Before posting this, I photoshopped out my street address, my zip code and the “-Shutts” that used to hang off the end of my last name. Some clues to help lead you in that direction would be:

  • This is a pretty formal letter in a standard block letter format, so why would there be a gap after my name?
  • The city and state are present. Where is the zip code? It’s a modern letter, the zip would be included.
  • There’s no standard punctuation (comma, colon) after the “Dear Ms. Strait” and there should be.

Granted the changes are subtle. But this also illustrates my trust but verify attitude. As a good genealogist, you should always ask to inspect the original.

albertar2002AR-2 Form, page 1: Form AR-2 4391398
United States Department of Justice
Immigration and Naturalization Service
Alien Registration Form

1 ☆(a) My name is Albert [first] None [middle]  Westra [last]
1 ☆(b) I entered the United States under the name Albert Westra
1 ☆(c) I have also been known by the following names: Same None
1 ☆(c) (include maiden name if a married woman,
1 ☆(c) professional names, nicknames, and aliases): Same

2 ☆(a) I live at R.D. #2, Newton [city], Sussex [county], New Jersey [state]
☆(b) My post-office address is Newton [post office], New Jersey [state]

3 ☆(a) I was born on March 13 1908
☆(b) I was born in (or near) Dronryp [city], — [province] , Holland [country]

4 ☆(x) I am a citizen or subject of Holland [country]

5 ☆(a) I am a (check one): Male…☒1   Female…☐
5 ☆(b) My marital status is (check one): Single…☐1  Married…☒2   Widowed…☐3  Divorced…☐4
5 ☆(c) My race is (check one): White…☒1   Negro…☐2  Japanese…☐3   Chinese…☐4    Other ….

6 ☆(x) I am 5 feet, 8 inches in height, weigh 145 pounds, have light [color] hair and blue [color] eyes.

7 ☆(a) I last arrived in the United States at Hoboken, N.J. [port or place of entry] on March 13, 1918
7 ☆(b) I came in by Volendam [name of vessel, steamship company, or other mean of transportation]
7 ☆(c) I came in as (check one): Passenger…☒1   Crew member…☐2  Stowaway…☐3   Other ….
7 ☆(d) I came in as (check one): Permanent resident…☒1   Visitor…☐2  Student…☐3   Treaty merchant…☐4   Seaman…☐5   Official of a foreign government…☐6   Employee of a foreign government official…☐7    Other….
7 ☆(e) I first arrived in the United States on March 13 1927

8 ☆(a) I have lived in the United States a total of 13 years
8 ☆(b) I expect to remain in the United States permanently

9(a) My usual occupation is Farmer
9 ☆(b) My present occupation is Farmer
(c) My employer (or registering parent or guardian) is Self
9 ☆(x) whose address is Same
9 ☆(x) and whose business is Farmer

All items must be answered by persons 14 years of age or older. For children under 14 years of age, only the items marked with a star (☆) must be answered by the parent or guardian. All answers must be accurate and complete.

albertar2003AR-2 Form, page 2: [no heading]
10 ☆(x) I am, or have been within the past 5 years, or intend to be engages in the following activities: In addition to other information, list memberships or activities in clubs, organizations, or societies: None

11 ☆(x) My military or naval service has been None

12 ☆(x) I have applied for first citizenship papers in the United States. Date of application May or June 1940
12 ☆(x) First citizenship papers received Aug 2, 1940 [date], 1307 [number], Newton [city], New Jersey [state]
12 ☆(x) Filed petition for naturalization …………

13 ☆(x) I have the following specified relatives living int he United States:
13 ☆(x) Parent(s) [none or one or both] None.  Husband or wife [yes or no] Yes.   Children [number] Three

14 ☆(x) I have not [have or have not] been arrested or indicted for, or convicted of any offense (or offenses). These offenses are:……

15 ☆(x) Within the past 5 years I have not [have or have not] been affiliated with or active in (a member of, official of, a worker for) organizations, devoted in whole or in part to influencing or furthering the political activities, public relations, or public policy of a foreign government……..

Affidavit for Persons 14 years of age or older
I have read or have had read to me the above statements, and do hereby swear (or affirm) that these statements are true and complete to the best of my knowledge and belief.    [Signature] Albert Westra

Subscribed and sworn to (or affirmed) before me at the place and on the date here designated by the official post office stamp below. [Signature] John G. Small

Affidavit for Parent or Guardian only [not filled out].

Seal of the post office of Newton, New Jersey, dated 10 December 1940.


Analysis: It must have been stressful time for my grandfather Albert Westra when he had to register as an alien in 1940. Even later in life, he still had a fairly thick Dutch accent. The fact that he was a foreigner wasn’t something he could hide and the penalties for not registering as an alien weren’t to be taken lightly. In his favor were the facts that he’d been in the country for 13 years laboring away as a farmer, that he didn’t belong to any subversive organizations, and that he’d not been arrested, indicted, or convicted of any offenses.

Ignoring the reasons behind the creation of this form, there is a significant amount of genealogical data to be found here.

  • Albert Westra was born on 13 March 1908 in Dronryp Holland
  • Albert Westra first arrived in the United States on his 19th birthday on 13 March 1927 on a ship called the Volendam
  • He was a married, white, male farmer
  • He was 145 pounds and stands at 5′ 8″ with light hair and blue eyes (could be used to distinguish him between other Albert Westras)
  • He had not served in the military
  • On 10 December 1940, he had three children
  • On 10 December 1940, neither of his parents was living in the United States
  • On 10 December 1940, he was living on R.D. #2 in Newton, Sussex County, New Jersey
  • Albert expected to stay in the United States permanently and had filed his first citizenship papers in May or June of 1940 in Newton, New Jersey

One inconsistency on the form is that it states he last arrived in the United States at Hoboken, N.J., on 13 March 1918, a full nine years before he first arrived on 13 March 1927. Based on his naturalization papers, I know that both dates should be 13 March 1927 and that the 1918 date is a typo/mistake. His statement that he has been in the United States 13 years also confirms the 1927 date.

Albert in Living Room

Albert Westra at 3 Townsend St., Newton, New Jersey

Another thing to note is that his middle name was not “None.” The person completing the form just wanted to make sure that all the blanks were filled in. They probably should have used “–” instead.

This AR-2 is an original document in that it doesn’t appear to be tampered with. It looks like the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Genealogy Program just copied the papers as they found them in the file. They really have no reason to change any information. The information found on the document is both primary (arrival date, ship, physical description) and secondary (birth date, birth place) in nature. It does contain direct evidence of Albert’s birth date and birth place. It contains indirect information in that it tells me Albert is married and has three children. This must be used with other evidence to prove who he married and the names of his children.

CONCLUSION

Albert’s AR-2 alien registration form provides a nice snapshot of what Albert’s life looked like on 10 December 1940. He was a white man, originally born in Holland on 13 March 1908, with three children and a wife. He was working at his usual occupation of farmer and lived on R.D. #2 in Newton, Sussex County, New Jersey. He was upstanding in that he had not been arrested, indicted, or convicted of any offenses and was not agitating for the overthrow of the United States government. He intended to stay in the United States permanently and to that effect had already filed his first citizenship papers.

Sunday’s Obituary – Richard Allen Wood – Died 21-May-2001

Relationship to me: 1st cousin, 1x removed

My grandmother, Beatrice Strait, clipped this from the New Jersey Herald in May of 2001.

screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-6-35-28-pm

Richard A. “Dick” Wood Sr., 68, died Monday at home. Born in Newton, Mr. Wood was a lifelong resident. He was a welder and fabricator for Limestone Products Corp., for nearly 40 years before retiring 10 years ago. Mr. Wood was a member of the Blue Mountain Gas & Steam Engine Association, a member of the Limestone 25-year Club, and a past member of the Newton First Aid Squad. The son of the late Robert W. Wood Sr. and Bernice Strait Wood, he also was predeceased by a brother, Donald.  Mr. Wood is survived by his wife of 48 years, Charlotte A. Ulrich Wood; two sons, Richard A. Jr. and his wife, Patricia, of East Stroudsburg, Pa., and Carl and his wife, Deborah, of Stillwater; a brother, Robert of Maine; and four grandchildren. Arrangements are by the Smith-McCracken Funeral Home, 63 High St., Newton.