October 26, 2022
York University Professor Emeritus (John) David Wood has died. Prof. Wood died in Toronto, Ontario, on Oct. 15.
He grew up in Ontario, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, in a Salvation Army family. After receiving BA and MA from the University of Toronto and PhD from Edinburgh, Prof. Wood enjoyed a long career as a historical geographer. He met and married his wife of 50 years, Mary Kerpan, while teaching at the University of Alberta. In 1965 he founded the Geography Department at Atkinson College at York University. He was a leading scholar of the settlement of Ontario and other British agricultural colonies, and a devoted and talented teacher loved by generations of students.
Together with his family, they restored a derelict 100 acre farm and 150-year-old log house in Egbert, Ontario, growing hay and raising goats and horses. Prof. Wood had lifelong passions for music, pottery and environmental conservation. Learning the trombone as a youth, in later years he played with the Baytowne Big Band, Barrie Concert Band and Huronia Symphony Orchestra.
When not working hard at the University or on the farm, Prof. Wood loved to play soccer or squash or go cross-country skiing. He was humble, generous, decent and principled. He spent his last years at True Davidson Acres in Toronto, where he passed peacefully in the company of loved ones. He is predeceased by wife, Mary (nee Kerpan) and sister, Phyllis and survived by children Lisa, Stepan (Nina Hewitt) and Evan (John Ealey), and grandchildren Jonathan, Sara and Solon.
A memorial service will take place on Saturday, Oct 29 at 11 a.m. at the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery Funeral Centre, 375 Mt. Pleasant Rd, Toronto. Visitation will take place at 10 a.m., with a reception at 12 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations to Alzheimer Society or Heart & Stroke Foundation appreciated.