Obituary of Marilysse R. Wood
Marilysse Wood has been called home to be with our Lord and Savior on November 11, 2023. Waiting in heaven, Marilysse will be greeted in the loving arms of her husband, Cliff Wood, who passed away November 18, 2018. Though saddened by Marilysse’s passing, we who love her and will miss her so much, know that reunited with Cliff, she will smile from heaven and say for us not to be sad, but to rejoice. Rejoice that life gave her and each of us lives filled with love and joyful memories.
Marilysse is survived by six children: John (Lynda), Mary, Frederick, Paul (Janice), Carol (Smokey) and Gloria.
Born on November 5, 1925, and raised in Utica, Marilysse was brought into the home of Bartholomew (Bart) and Lillian Slade Ruddy when she was 18-months old from Saint Joseph’s Infant Home. Her step-brother, John, at three years of age was already at the residence. When she was baptized in the Catholic Church it was under the name, “Mary,” as Marilysse was not a godly name recognized by the church back then. As an adopted child and in those days, Marilysse’s new family never knew her actual birthdate. Since Lillian knew someone in the city records department, they chose November 5, 1925. She proudly attended Saint Agnes School in East Utica. However, when Marilysse was six years old, Bart left his family and Lillian to raise the two children on her own.
Marilysse’s growth blossomed from childhood to her teen years as she became one of what is now known as, “The Greatest Generation.” In May 1938 while on a train trip to Nevada with her mother, Marilysse befriended a German family who were fleeing Adolph Hitler’s reign of terror.
The world war in Europe rages on as Marilysse graduated from high school. She accepts a job at what was then known as Rome Air Depot and later as Griffiss Air Force Base. She is assigned the late shift from 3:00-11:00pm, while still residing in Utica. Walking from the bus stop she saw and waved to the wounded soldiers on the train as they were transported to the Rhodes Hospital in New Hartford. What she also saw were German Nazi POWs held at Rome Air Depot. This was a world war and even in the cities of Utica and Rome, the resident’s windows were covered with blackout curtains to avoid sighting by possible enemy bombers. What few may remember is that guards were posted at Lake Delta Dam for fear Nazi’s may blow it up flooding the city of Rome and the Air Depot.
It was during the war effort that her friend, Alfreda Mortis, suggests to Marilysse to write to an overseas G.I. It was not until January 1946 with the war over that she meets for the first time her pen pal, Army Technical Sergeant Cliff Wood. Their first date was lunch at Rome’s Green Briar restaurant. Years later, on June 25, 1949, at Saint Agnes Church in Utica, they would become Mr. and Mrs. Wood. But before they could get married in a Catholic Church, Marilysse had to have a baptism certificate, which she never received as a child. Fortunately, a priest and nun sponsored her in receiving the certificate. The marriage happily took place and would last 69 years.
After honeymooning in Quebec, Canada they moved into their first home, a rental on Point Rock Road in West Lee, NY. They soon became good friends with Charlie and Alice Swerdan who would later become the godparents of their son, Fred. Marilysse in her later years would recall how the four of them would go dancing at the Freeman Hotel in Swancutt Mills.
Then on Mother’s Day May 9, 1953, they along with their first two children, John and Mary, move into the house that Cliff built from the ground up. The address was then, RFD, or “Rural Farm Delivery,” but is now known as Hawkins Corners Road. There the other four children are born and raised, Fred, Paul, Carol, and Gloria. For 40-years Marilysse raised six children and kept house, all while working at Griffiss Air Force Base. She retired with numerous government service awards and commendations in September 1986. Marilysse was a devout Roman Catholic who was a parishioner at Saint Mary’s Church in Rome, NY and later, Saint Joseph’s Church in Lee Center, with Father Robert Kelly. While at Saint Joseph’s she was President of the Women’s Club and organist for both Saint Joseph and Lee Center United Methodist Church, her husband’s church. She was a past President, Chaplain, and Secretary of the Lee Center American Legion Post 1794.
The following list is the Wood extended family tree. Marilysse’s grandchildren are: Jennifer (Rick), Cliff (Audrey), Halle, Spencer, Kristina, Daniel, Megan, and Jonathan. Her great grandchildren are: Kaitlin, Raymond, Sierra, Isabella, Cliff, Madelein, Samson, Caeleb, Conrad, and Luke. Close to Marilysse are her “semi-adopted kids” and the best neighbors, Patrick and Debbie Hetherington and dear Jessica Perry and her family, George, Olivia, and Hamilton. The Wood family would also like to extend their appreciation to Dr. Brian Alessi for his compassion shown to both Marilysse and Cliff. Marilysse will also be missed by her Tuesday Game Night friends Mary Anne Swerdan and Jimmy Sledziona.
By the way, most are not familiar with the name, “Marilysse.” In fact, it is a variation derived from the beautiful flower, Amaryllis, the flower her mother, Lillian, loved so much. Mom, may your loving memory bloom forever for those who knew you so well.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Thursday, at 1:30 PM at St. Joseph’s Church. Burial will be in Evergreen Cemetery.
Relatives and friends may call at the Barry Funeral Home, 807 W. Chestnut Street, on Wednesday from 5 to 7 PM.To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Marilysse Wood, please visit our Tree Store