Maurice (Maury) John Hood died Nov. 17, 2019 at his home on Whidbey Island, WA His death was from complications related to pulmonary arterial hypertension.
Maury’s life can best be described as one of unending curiosity, creativity, and a life-long desire to be the leader of the pack. His 84 years of life were filled with his pursuit of being president of any group he joined so as he often said, “I could just point to what needed to be done and everyone else would do it.” He was an outstanding delegator, negotiator, mediator and one who asked before telling.
Maury’s life began on Jan. 20, 1935 in Farmington, WA He was the only son born to Merle M. Hood and Margaret Jo Pine Hood. Sisters, Barbara Jo and Janice Carol completed the family and would, in later years, refer to their brother Maury as “the Prince” because of the way their mother seemed to dote on him.
Maury’s formative years were spent in Spokane, WA, where at 12 years of age, he blossomed into an enterprising entrepreneur, earning money by delivering newspapers and eggs to customers in his neighborhood. Maury attended Lewis and Clark High School, lettering in football and track, earning the nickname “Flex” as an outstanding shot putter. At Lewis and Clark Maury mastered Robert’s Rules of Order, something he would put to good use for the rest of his life. Building teams and consensus came naturally and would hold him in good stead as president of some 25 organizations over his lifetime.
At WA State College, he pledged Sigma Phi Epsilon and was the Greek candidate for freshman class president…that was “candidate,” not “winner.” Undeterred, Maury ran for and won sophomore class president, served as Greek man on the Board of Control, and was elected Inter-fraternity Council president, where his main achievement was to quell a snowball fight turned panty raid. He spent his final year at WSC as Sig Ep president and the rest of his life as a loyal Cougar fan.
In 1958, Maury graduated with honors from WA State with a BA in architectural engineering. After graduation, Maury said “no” to a regular Army commission and “yes” to Shirley Ann Morris on their wedding day the following June. Julie Lynn, Paul Michael and Marcus Jon rounded out Shirley and the family.
During their almost 25 years of marriage, Maury and Shirley were always on the move.
From the Army deuce and a half’s departure from Vashon Island (where Maury was acting battery commander) to Shell Oil Co. assignments in WA and California (where he was honored as a member of the Society of the Golden West) and then back to WA before moving on to Nashville to acquire motel sites for the Levitt Development Co. A short hop to Dallas, Texas in 1972 was followed by a 28-year stay in Austin.
During all this moving about, Maury found time to be a scoutmaster, PTA president, Booster Club president, soccer coach, and grandstand fan for many a football game, basketball game, and his daughter’s dancing drill team.
In Austin, Maury built homes and developed subdivisions. He received the Austin Builders Association Distinguished Excellence Award for his service in several capacities, including Association president. His proudest career accomplishment came as president of Jester Development Corp., where he oversaw the development of an 820 acre, 1,400 plus home subdivision in Northwest Austin called Jester Estates.
Maury and Shirley divorced in 1984. A year later, just as the stack of trays from his TV dinners was about to hit the ceiling, he found Donna Darling. His white belt and shoes had caught her eye earlier, and she was eager to make his acquaintance. His good looks (he was tall with hair) and his dancing skills, especially the two step, made him the perfect choice for Donna.
Donna and Maury tested the marriage waters for 10 years, then, finally, married in 1995 and were destined to live happily ever after overlooking the Texas Hill Country in the only blue house in Jester Estates. Or, at least, that’s what Donna thought. In May 1999, the couple made one last move to the home Maury built on Whidbey Island in WA state.
Even in retirement, Maury continued to run for office. He served as president of the South Whidbey Lions, president of the Clinton Water District, and president of the WA State Association of Sewer and Water Districts. Although not president, he considered his service on the Good Cheer Food Bank Board and his time as building chair to be his major contribution to life on Whidbey. Under his guidance, the Masonic Lodge was purchased and recycled to become the Food Bank and Distribution Center. Also, the Langley Thrift Shop was remodeled and a location with increased space was acquired for Good Cheer II.
He loved his yard and garden, and was especially proud of his huge leafed Gunnera, aka Dinosaur Food. He and Donna would hack around at golf on sunny days, clean the downstairs vacation rental, celebrate to excess with family and friends, visit Donna’s daughters (Julie and Jancy) in Austin, and occasionally travel the globe. For an engineer, the Panama Canal was quite a sight.
His 80th birthday was most memorable in that he and his family traveled to Hood Park in Burbank, WA, where they dedicated an interpretative sign describing the agricultural advancements fostered by Maury’s grandfather, Frank E. Hood, who owned the farm where the park now stands.
In 1985, Maury made a list of 10 life goals. He died at peace with his life knowing he had not only accomplished all his goals, but had lived a life that honored his ancestors and inspired his heirs.
Maury is survived by Donna Hood. his wife of 34 years; his daughter. Julie Hood; sons, Paul Hood and Marc Hood (Kris); grandchildren, Federico, Gabrielle, and Luciano Molina, and Jonathan, Braeden, Gracie and Jack Hood; great grandson, Kallen Molina; step-daughters, Julie and Jancy Darling (Michael); sisters, Barbara Dobson (Darrell) and Jan Forrest (Jack); nephews, Steve Dobson (Barb) and Keith Dobson (Tina); and many great nieces and great nephews.
In the spring, when the bluebonnets are in bloom, Maury’s family and friends will gather at Riverbend Memorial Gardens in Austin, Texas, to witness Maury’s final move. Please join us for a champagne toast to this beloved man as Maury’s urn, a bust he sculpted of himself, is buried beneath his River Rock headstone, which was purposely situated within haunting distance of Jester Estates.
In lieu of flowers, Maury requested your help in ensuring the future education of deserving WA State University Engineering and Architectural School students by making a donation to the Class of ’59’s scholarship fund. Contact Bridget Pilcher at 509-335-0144, WSU College of Engineering and Architecture, P.O. Box 642250, Pullman, WA 99164-2250 to discuss the best way to make your donation.
The family wishes to thank the many friends who sent well wishes and the caregivers who made Maury’s journey the past two years a little better.
Family and friends are encouraged to share memories and condolences at www.whidbeymemorial.com