Friends, family honor Mac Wood
Buckeye Lake artist Ray King is creating a sculpture of kindhearted craftsman and community icon George "Mac" Wood, who passed away Feb. 20, for display at the Buckeye Lake Museum.
Wood's friend, Mike Carr, said, "This is the kicking off time," and hopes to unveil the statue at the Buckeye Lake Museum this autumn.
Museum Director J-Me Braig said she welcomes the statue into the museum as soon as it's ready and has her own fond memories of Wood. Braig recalled a "devilishly" hot summer day when she was a child, sitting in front of Crab Baker's waterfront building with her father, Jim, who was discussing his boat's engine problems with Baker. A tall, slender man walked up to her and her father and asked, "Is this your little girl, Jim?" with a smile.
"Sure is," said Jim.
"She looks thirsty. Care if I get her a Coke?" the man asked. Braig's face lit up; a Coke was a big deal then, she said, far better than the usual Kool-Aid. An ice cold Coke on a blistering day won Braig's affection for life.
Braig later learned that man was Wood, a skilled craftsman and self-made man who helped build projects all over town, including a bank and the museum Braig directs today. She said Wood built many of Buckeye Lake's structures, like the First Community Church Youth Building, many homes, including his own in the Lynnwood addition, and he worked on the Wolfe family's Journal Island for many years.
Braig said Wood would never say "no." He'd always say he'd see what he could do or he'd get back to you after giving things some thought. A few years ago, said Braig, a friend brought Wood to the museum. Wood was elderly and frail but remembered Braig. She took him on a tour and there were tears in his eyes as recalled building the museum, something he said he truly loved.
"He might have been a slender man, but he was a giant to me," said Braig.
"When you go through the village, you see what he gave to the village," said J-Me's mother, Donna Braig, who knew Wood in high school. She remembers him as a person whose family came first. Braig said he built homes for his family members and employed them when he could. "I admired Mac so much for that," she said. Wood always kept his word and was heavily involved with his church, Braig said. "He was the first high school millionaire," she said. "We really lost something when we lost him."
Resident Bob Slater said he'd known Wood for most of Wood's life and remembers helping him with projects around Buckeye Lake.
Konrod Morris of National City Bank's Buckeye Lake branch manages the Mac Wood Memorial Fund. Anyone wishing to donate to the fund may contact Morris in person at the bank or call (740) 929-2060.