Robert Earl Wood passed away peacefully at his home, on Monday, April 12, 2021, at the age of 65. He was born in Pearsall on Dec. 7, 1955 to Claude R. Wood, also known as Bob (Bobby) Wood, and Lila Jean Hurt Wood. He is preceded in death by both his parents, Claude and Lila Wood and nephew, Aron Lee Wagoner. Robert Earl is survived by his loving wife, Debbie Wood; their daughter and the light of their lives, Kelsi Wood; sisters-in-law, Lorrie Dye and Karrie Nelson, both of Pleasanton; brothers-in-law, John Christopher Morgan and David Lawhorn, both of Round Rock; niece, Gwen Dye and her daughter Haylie Dye of Pleasanton; nephew, Phillip Henderson and wife Ashlee Taylor Henderson and their daughter, Harper Henderson, also of Pleasanton.
Robert Earl Wood, along with his mother and father, originally resided in Dilley before moving to Jourdanton, when Robert Earl was about 7 years old. Robert Earl graduated from Pleasanton High School in 1974. Right after graduation, he worked as a truck driver driving a big rig back and forth from Jourdanton to Corpus Christi. One year later, at the tender age of 19 years old, he was lucky enough to land his dream job with the Union Pacific Railroad. He also just so happened to obtain his first real estate investment property that very same year located right here in Pleasanton off of Goodwin Street, which the Wood Family still owns to this day. His Railroad career eventually led to an early retirement due to injury thus followed his real estate career and his well known hand in the community.
Robert Earl Wood was known for living life to the fullest. Even in his 20s while working for the Railroad it wasn’t anything unusual for Robert Earl to jump on a plane and head over to Houston just for a good time. He lived the life of a socialite and never went anywhere where he didn’t know somebody or everybody. He never knew a stranger, and would give you the shirt straight off his back.
In 1986 he met the love of his life, Deborah Kay Nelson (Wood). Debbie worked at Ferrari’s, a restaurant connected to the Taylor Village Inn & Suites right off of Highway 79 in Taylor. She had seen plenty of men come and go on her shifts, as most of the Railroaders would stay and frequent the restaurant when they were working in Taylor. Debbie recalls how one day this handsome newcomer came walking through those doors with his then co-workers and buddies, Steve Renner and Mark Rousch. His good looks and charm immediately caught her eye. She couldn’t keep her eyes off of him and over the course of the next year they became best friends. In 1987, just one year later, Robert Earl moved from Pleasanton to Austin while he continued to work for Union Pacific Railroad, and, for Debbie, that’s “when it all began.” That tiny spark soon spread like wildfire and their love was like no other love. Anyone that knew Robert Earl knew that he was a wonderful dancer, and the two sweethearts spent most of their nights and weekends tearing up the dance floor together and painting the town red. They were wild and crazy and crazy in love. When they weren’t cutting a rug on the dance floor you could catch them out camping, on the lakes, in the rivers and anywhere that involved a good beat and some good music.
As their love affair continued, so did Robert Earl’s career with the Union Pacific Railroad, until 1991 when Robert Earl was injured on a job that would unfortunately and eventually force him into early retirement. Before he threw in the towel to his dream job he tried plenty of times before he had no choice but to finally give it up. In 1995, four years and one back surgery later, he said goodbye to the work he loved and sadly closed that chapter of his life.
It was then when he made his way back down south and settled into Pleasanton, where Robert Earl and Debbie would eventually establish roots deeper than the ocean. In 1992, Robert Earl Wood asked the love of his life, Debbie, for her hand in marriage. That same year on Oct. 24, 1992, the two lovebirds were married. And it was a shock to many that one of the most eligible bachelors around was officially settling down.
Exactly one year and three days later on Oct. 27, 1993, the light of their lives and their only child, Kelsi Nicole Wood was born. Robert Earl was such a proud daddy and even with all of his accomplishments, the many hats he wore and his success throughout his life, nothing compared to being her father. The love he shared with Kelsi knew no distance. When Robert Earl didn’t have her hand, he always had her back. They shared a bond that, without a doubt, can only be made in Heaven. In fact, she was the last phone call he made right before he went to be with the Lord.
During the early years of the trio, and soon after settling into their new role as a new family, Robert Earl picked back up his passion for real estate. Robert Earl and Debbie purchased their first home when Kelsi was just 6 months old. Debbie will tell you, “It was a really good deal, and that was the beginning to his wheeling and dealing!” He made many investments along the way and was very successful with his career, his family, and the community until the very end. In 1995 those same investments made Debbie’s childhood dreams come true when he bought her her first horse, Ginger. Her beloved Ginger was the first of many, and that was the beginning of their horse back riding days. A new chapter that would bring so much joy, love and memories to their hearts and to the hearts of many, many others.
After that, “I always had a barn full of horses, way more than I needed … but he never told me no. If I wanted it, he made sure I got it,” Debbie Wood said.
Just three years later, Robert Earl and Debbie purchased their daughter, Kelsi, her first horse. That horse ended up being the craziest horse the Wood family has ever owned. Shortly afterward it became Robert Earl’s; he was the only one that could ride it. No doubt it’s because he was just as wild, crazy and stubborn as the horse was! The love for horses may have stemmed from Debbie Wood, but it quickly grew fast and furious throughout both Kelsi and Robert Earl’s lives as well. Over the years they were actively involved in the rodeo community, barrel racing, The Old Spanish Trail Riders, The Texas Bluebonnet Trail Riders, The Atascosa County’s Sheriff’s Posse, and The San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, just to name a few. The Wood Family even had the honor of performing The Grand Entry at The San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo.
Robert Earl Wood was a pillar of strength to his family, his friends and the community of Pleasanton. He had his hand in many things, and extended his arms and heart into every single one of them. From his involvement in the Pleasanton Lions Club, city council, Young Farmers Rodeo, The Poteet Strawberry Festival and so much more. Robert Earl Wood is the very man who started our cherished Christmas Parade in the year 2000, and in 2018 he handed it over to the City of Pleasanton with much pride. Last, but certainly not least, his very last and notably important project, the ownership, renovating, reopening and reestablishment of Eagle Lanes Bowling Alley, whereupon he and his Family spent countless hours and much blood, sweat and tears in order to restore and offer a piece of Pleasanton’s history back into the community.
Over the years Robert Earl has not only helped shape our community indefinitely, but he has shaped the lives of so many along the way. He was so loved. He was an inspiration, he was a mentor, he was a father, he was a teacher, he was a best friend. He was a beacon of light, and it is that very same light that will carry us out of the darkness. Forever.