November 13, 2013
John Merrill Hood passed away on Oct. 17, 2013.
A memorial service will be at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 10 at Sierra Presbyterian Church in Nevada City.
John was born on Oct. 11, 1919, in Elizabeth, N.J., to Ben Benight and Josephine Allen Hood.
He moved extensively during his formative years to Connecticut, Ohio, West Virginia and Virginia, where his father, an engineer, held jobs with the American Chain Co., Proctor and Gamble, American Potash and the United States Government.
John finished high school at California Prep School in Covina and attended Lehigh University in Pennsylvania from 1937 to 1941.
Following graduation, he went to work for U.S. Steel and in 1943 moved to Fontana, Calif., to work for the Kaiser Steel. He was drafted into the U.S. Navy in 1943 and after 6 months of officer training with a commission of ensign junior grade, andwas sent to Pearl Harbor where he was assigned to a converted cargo carrier that spent two years traversing the Pacific Ocean.
Ports of call included Guam, the Philippines and Japan. He decommissioned the ship in Japan in 1946 and returned to Kaiser Steel in Fontana, Calif., as an industrial engineer. It was in Fontana that he met a square dance instructor, Betty Gow, who was head of the lab at Kaiser Hospital. After dating for several months, they married March 8, 1947.
John and Betty stayed in Fontana until 1955 during which time they had three boys. John transferred to Kennecott Corp. in Ray, Ariz., where he was an industrial engineer from 1955 to 1960.
They had their last child, a girl during this time. John transferred to Frazer Park, Calif., in 1960 to open up a new plant, but since there were no adequate schools available for his growing family, he accepted a job with North American and moved his family to Anaheim, Calif., in 1961.
John worked for North American for 20 years on such projects as the Saturn Rocket program, Apollo, and the B-1 bomber. After retirement in 1981, John and Betty built a home in Grass Valley. He was a devoted father participating in Boy Scout activities, an enthusiastic supporter of the Republican Party, an avid bridge player, and a loyal church member.
During his last several years, he enjoyed making beef jerky for the overseas troops.
John Hood will be greatly missed by those surviving him — his wife, Betty; sons Arthur (Sharon), Ron (Roxanne) and David; daughter Rosalind (Dr. Bill Ostermiller); four grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
His many friends in Grass Valley and throughout the country will miss his friendly demeanor, dry wit and willingness to always lend a helping hand.