Charles Rufus Wood, III was born on October 8, 1960 to Charles Rufus Wood Jr. and Mary (Coppino) Wood in Bluefield, West Virginia. Charlie was nicknamed “Horse” as a child by his father due to his strength. He was the youngest of four children, having three older sisters. As a child, he was known for being quite mischievous and he and his cousins frequently found themselves in trouble. He graduated in 1978 from Bluefield High School, excelling in both academics and athletics. As a member of the 1975 West Virginia State Football Championship team, he went on to letter in both varsity football and baseball. His academic honors included being a member of the Key Club and National Honor Society, in addition to representing his high school at Boys State, which he described as “the most boring week of his life.” He went on to attend Bluefield State College, majoring in civil engineering. Charlie loved his home state of West Virginia and was a devoted West Virginia University Mountaineers football fan. He could often be found rooting the team on while wearing his favorite WVU bucket hat as his father and uncles before him did.
Charlie was the proud father of one daughter, and he made sure that anyone he met knew she was a doctor, regardless of whether or not they asked. Charlie ultimately settled in Virginia and married the love of his life, Kimberly Higgins, in 2003 and they resided in Virginia Beach. They enjoyed golfing, the beach (especially Key West) and spending quality time together with their family, including their dearly loved dog Max. Charlie was a devout Christian and was a member of Old Donation Episcopal Church in Virginia Beach, where he formed a strong bond and friendship with the Reverend Fred Poteet.
He worked as a talented sales leader in the automotive industry for most of his life, however his true career passion was for carpentry. He built and remodeled a number of beautiful homes and could fix just about anything. Charlie was a brilliant and gifted artist and woodworker and delighted in creating unique carvings, drawings and paintings and often gave them away. He loved nature and had an incredible fund of knowledge about animals, especially marine life.
He passed away on November 19, 2020 from metastatic lung cancer with his wife by his side. He was grateful to meet and hold his newborn grandson only days prior, an answered prayer for which he and his family were so grateful.
He is preceded in death by his parents Mary Wood and Charles Wood, Jr. He is survived by his wife Kim Wood, his daughter Lauren Wood Thum (Joseph), and grandson Henry (aka “Colt”); Lauren’s mother and Charlie’s first wife and close friend Ellen Haag who Charlie lovingly referred to as the “Baby Momma”; in-laws Becky and Billy Vasile; sisters Debbie Ewing (Paul), Patty Poe (Mike), and Billie Johnson (Joe); nephews Brad Ewing (Lisa), Jason Ewing (Kimberly), Michael Poe, and niece Tracy Scott (Dwain); aunt Lillian Hellmandollar; cousins Karen Hellmandollar, Tom Hellmandollar (Kim), Mark Hellmandollar (Pam), Jimmy Coppino, John Coppino (Patsy), Cathy Malbon (Mike), Sissy Sawyer (Mike), and Nick Coppino (Diane); aunt Barbara Wood and extended family; and his loyal dog Max.
Charlie will be remembered for his energetic and outgoing personality, his love of baking pies and cooking (his biscuits and gravy were second to none), and his devotion to his family and God. Charlie was a character. He had a personality that was larger than life. He was one of a kind. As his close friend explained, “he put the ‘extra’ in ‘extrovert’”. Charlie was firm in his principles and was not afraid to stand up for his convictions. Being part of a large extended Italian family, he had the gift of gab; however, he lacked the filter that typically accompanies it. He always said what was on his mind. Charlie loved to make others smile and laugh and never let the truth get in the way of telling a good story. His exuberant laugh could often be heard from quite far away and it was contagious. To Charlie, there were no strangers, only people he had yet to meet. He lived life to the absolute fullest and made everything he did fun. He will be greatly missed by so many people who loved him dearly.
Due to the pandemic, memorial services will be postponed until 2021 when they can be safely held. In lieu of flowers, please send donations in his memory to the American Cancer Society or the V foundation for Cancer Research.