Longtime Berkeley historian Don Wood dead at 79

MARTINSBURG – A funeral is scheduled for Thursday for Don Wood, the Berkeley County native who served for more than two decades as president of the Berkeley County Historical Society.

The 79-year-old died Sunday in City Hospital in Martinsburg.

According to his obituary, Wood graduated from Martinsburg High School and was employed by a florist in D.C. before he returned to Berkeley County to work with his parents on the family’s dairy farm at Swan Pond.

He became interested in family genealogy and then in researching historical properties in the Panhandle.

Soon Wood was busy promoting the area’s history, helping to start the Adam Stephen’s Museum to honor the founder of Martinsburg and working to restore two key Berkeley County landmarks, the Morgan Morgan cabin in Bunker Hill, where the first white settler of West Virginia lived, as well as the Belle Boyd House in Martinsburg, the onetime home of the woman called “the Cleopatra of the Secession” who spied for Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson.

Wood served on the Berkeley County Landmarks Commission and the Historic Review Commission; was active with Main Street Martinsburg; and worked to put on the National Register of Historic Places a number of properties in the county.

He delivered talks on local history to clubs and organizations, led tours of the city and county and for years wrote a popular Sunday newspaper column detailing Panhandle history. He also wrote and provided research for many of the books published by the Berkeley County Historical Society and in 2009 was named Berkeley County Citizen of the Year for his contributions to the community.

His funeral is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Thursday at Brown Funeral Home at 327 W. King St. in Martinsburg. The Rev. Dr. Thomas E. Hartshorn of Martinsburg’s Christ Reformed United Church of Christ, where Wood was an active member for decades, will officiate at the service.

Wood’s family, including Herbert York, his partner of 53 years, and his surviving sibling, sister Mary Wood, are set to receive friends from 6 to 9 tonight at the funeral home.

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