John J. Wood (Photos courtesy of the Wood family)

By AFRO Staff

It is the consensus of family and friends that John Jeffrey Wood did it ‘his way.’ How could he not have with the unique upbringing he received? How could he not have been affected by having been a world traveler? How could he not, having been the son of world renown entertainers? 

When John Jeffrey Wood died, Nov. 10, in Oakland, Calif. after a protracted illness, this son of Jazz singer, Damita Jo LeBlanc and James “Biddy” Wood, had lived a full life enriched by the people he’d met, the experiences he’d had and his openness to engaging with people from all walks of life. 

And he found great joy in sharing his life with everyone he met. Right up until the end of his life, he was still entertaining family members and friends who surrounded him.

The 56-year-old John Wood, better known as JJ, was named after his uncle, John “Junky” Wood and his great aunt Jeffrey Plummer. He was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and spent his early years in Carpinteria, Calif. outside of Santa Barbara. He later moved with his parents to Baltimore. He returned to California in his late teens and lived in the San Francisco Bay area for the rest of his life.

John had many close friends and supporters in the Oakland area.  A special acknowledgment goes to Dana McDaniel and her family, his longtime friends Debra Ambrose  and his partner in all kinds of high jinks, Mike Brown. They called him Johnny. 

Teammates on the Oakland recreational baseball team where he played catcher,  called him “Shaky.”

The family offers a special “thank you” to the caregivers who assisted John over many years.

John was predeceased by his baby sister, Jamel who died 12/18/ 73 when John was 9 1/2 years old and both of his parents.  He is survived by his sisters the Rev. Dr. Frances M. Draper (Andre), Stephanie Shelton, Susan M. Barnes (Lance)and his brother, Dr. James E. Wood (Robin). John also is remembered lovingly by his cousins Jill Collins Dennis, Tara and Wesley Wood. He has a host of nieces, nephews and grands who each have their own or have  heard “Uncle JJ” stories. 

John’s ashes along with some of those of Biddy, Damita and possibly Jamel, will be scattered at sea near Carpinteria.  

John Jeffrey definitely did it “his way!”