This page is dedicated to members of the Eastern Province of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. who have passed away. These members have passed into what we affectionately call the Chapter invisible.
Obituaries » Joseph Wood Sr Solomon
Check your settings when you are happy with your print preview press the print icon below.Show Obituaries Show Guestbook Show Photos QR Code Print
May 12, 1934 - October 23, 2020
On Friday, October 23, 2020, at approximately 6:30 PM, Joseph (Joe) Solomon Wood Sr. departed this life at Gilchrist Center Howard County in Columbia, Maryland. Joseph succumbed to arrhythmia-related heart disease after a short hospitalization. He was 86.
Joe, the youngest of 12, was born to Albert Bryant Wood and Rosa Elaine Rhem Wood on May 12, 1934. Both Albert and Rosa were from New Bern, North Carolina. Albert was one of six children of former slaves, Tamar Bryan Wood and William Amsted Wood. Joe’s grandfather, William, fought for his freedom during the Civil War as a member of the US 20th Colored Troops Infantry.
Joe was named after his mother’s twin brothers Joseph and Solomon Rhem, who along with Rosa, were the three youngest of James Bell Rhem and Sally Ann Biddle Rhem’s twelve children. Albert and Rosa married in New Bern and later moved their family to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where Joe was born.
As a child, Joe received his education in the Philadelphia school system and his religious training in the Presbyterian Church. As a youth, Joe enjoyed both watching and playing baseball. In fact, at 86, Joe was still working on his swing.
The most important lesson he learned from his forebears and passed on to his children is “It’s not where you start, but where you finish”. The second was to remain ever humble.
A high school dropout, as a paratrooper, Joe became a Purple Heart recipient in the Korean War, finished night school, and graduated from Temple University in 2.5 years with a degree in accounting, then completed business school, while supporting his family as a post office employee.
Later Joe would become one of the first African-American Systems Engineers at IBM, complete executive education programs at Stanford and Harvard, work at Princeton and become an owner-operator of multiple McDonald’s franchises while pursuing his pilot’s license. He once stated that after learning how to jump out of planes, he wanted to learn how to fly them.
Joe felt his greatest achievement in life was passing on what little he knew to his children so that they might have a better life. As a life member of both Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and the NAACP, he taught his children the importance of both achievement and service. Also, as a lifelong jazz enthusiast, he embodied the literal and metaphorical importance of the phrase, “Keep on swinging”.
Joe was preceded in death by his first wife, Barbara Elaine Robinson Wood, his second wife, Vera Marlene Ethengain Wood; and three sons: Joseph Jr., Lawrence, and Stephen. Left to cherish his memory are his sons Stanley (Cheryl) and Albert Bryant, II, and his daughter Stephanie; brothers-in-law: David Ethengain and LeRoy Culton; sisters-in-law: Joyce Williams, Barbara Ethengain, and Jewel Culton; 15 grandchildren, several great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins; and a host of other relatives, and friends.