Celebrating the life of Wilbur H. Wood
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Wilbur H. Wood (80) Poet, Journalist, Environmental Activist, Teacher, died March 27, 2023 in White Sulphur Springs, Montana. Kind, idealistic, gentle, dedicated to improving the world and living out his ideals; few people embody his genuine curiosity and humanity. He is truly missed.
Born September 26, 1942 in Billings, MT to Wilbur H. Wood and Annie Evans Wood, Wilbur was raised in Roundup, where he retained friendships from his childhood. Wilbur graduated from the University of Montana in 1964 and headed to San Francisco to pursue his Masters Degree in Creative Writing. Following his degree, Wilbur wrote for the San Francisco Bay Guardian and the Nation Magazine during the tumultuous and exciting 1960’s. His poetry developed under the mentoring of Jack Gilbert. Gilbert and Linda Gregg’s Sunday gathering of poets was the first of many writers groups he was part of over the course of his life. It was in San Francisco that Wilbur met his partner and wife, Elizabeth Hughes Wood. He convinced her that it would be a great idea to move to a small rural town in eastern Montana, and they returned to Roundup in 1971.
In Montana, Wilbur began his life long work promoting renewable energy, believing we could change the course of our warming planet. An early member of the Bull Mountain Landowners Association, the Northern Plains Resource Council, and a founding member of the Alternative Energy Resource Organization, Wilbur wrote, networked and organized with these organizations for over forty years—striving to achieve legislation that would serve the people of Montana and the land. A high point of this period was imaging, co-founding and creating the New Western Energy Show (NWES) in 1976. A traveling medicine show with technical prototypes and musical theater, the NWES provided information on solar and wind energy, and good building practices, such as insulating well and siting a building for solar access. Wilbur returned to playing drums during this time, then went on to play his drums with various bands around Roundup for years.
Wilbur was a patient teacher. An original writer in the Billings Writers Voice project, he traveled from Springdale to Crow Agency, Billings to Fort Belknap, inspiring young students to find their voice through writing. He taught writing and journalism at Rocky Mountain College for over 20 years, encouraging students’ curiosity about the world, and spending long hours editing their work.
Appointed by the Governor, Wilbur served two terms on the Montana Arts Council. In Roundup he was a co-founder of the Roundup Arts and Culture Committee, bringing writers, poets, artists, Shakespeare in the Parks, and other events to Roundup schools and community. He was a co-founder of the Roundup RiverWalk Heritage Trail, providing access to the river for everyone. Wilbur loved the piney wood hills of his Bull Mountains and Musselshell watershed. Always attentive to the land, Wilbur honored it through his devotion to its preservation.
Wilbur carried a notebook and pen with him throughout the days of his life, chronicling his observations, thoughts and impressions. He honored history, while he envisioned a better world, where nature was nurtured and our better angels prevailed.
Wilbur is survived by his partner, wife and sweetheart of 57 years, Elizabeth H. Wood. His beloved daughter Rhiannon S. H. Wood, (Scott Bellis) Portland, OR. His brothers Einar Martin Larsen (Janet) Helena, MT, and Keith William Larsen (Suzanne) Cody, WY. Niece Freyja Bell (Derek) Helena, MT, and nephews William Ben Larsen (Byrdie) Glasgow, MT and Nikolas August Larsen (Laura) Findley, OH.
A Celebration of a Life Well Lived will be held for Wilbur on August 12, 2023 at the Crawford Ranch 3.5 miles East of Roundup on Hwy 12 beginning at 4:00 PM. Please come and share your stories of a remarkable friend. If you are unable to join us, please send your stories of Wilbur, then take a long walk, where he would enjoy your companionship.
To plant a tree in memory of Wilbur H. Wood, visit the Tribute Store.
Celebration of Life
US 12 East
Roundup, MT 59072
Directions : 3.5 Miles East of Roundup on Hwy 12