Celebrating the life, ministry of Elton Wood
Elton Wood, 97, of Riverside, Rhode Island, passed away on 22 June 2023. He was a retired minister, an evangelist, and a missionary who served in Cabo Verde and Brazil for 40 years.
James Roy Elton Wood was born on 1 June 1928 in Lubbock, Texas, to Mr. and Mrs. S. L. Wood, ministers in Bowie, Texas. He gave his life to the Lord at 16 years old and four years later felt the call to the missions field.
Elton served as an evangelist before meeting his wife, Margaret Little. They were married in May of 1947 and served as student pastors at Hennessey Church of the Nazarene in Oklahoma for a year. They evangelized together in Oklahoma until they graduated from Bethany Nazarene College in 1952.
Elton and Margaret were commissioned as missionaries during the 1952 meeting of the General Board. Elton served as the director of the Bible college in Cabo Verde from 1953 until 1975. During that time, he also pastored in the Mindelo Church of the Nazarene and the Praia Church of the Nazarene in Cabo Verde’s capital city.
In 1976 the Woods moved to Brazil to become president of the Seminario Nazareno in Campinas, Sao Paulo. There, Elton helped develop the campus by constructing nine different buildings. The library at the seminary is named after Wood.
From 1981 to 1984, Elton also served as mission director of Brazil, where he traveled to district assemblies and helped identify new areas for church planting. He and Margaret retired from missions in 1993.
His life and legacy are remembered and celebrated by many. He was known affectionately as “Papo.”
“My life wouldn’t be what it is today if not for his ministry,” said Natalie Rodriguez-Zapata on Facebook. “There is just so much to learn from how Papo lived his life. His prayers and words of encouragement will forever be with me, and I feel so privileged to have shared time with such a precious soul.”
Elton was preceded in death by his wife, Margaret, who passed away in 2020.
He is survived by his only daughter, Carol Wood Lima, and her husband, Elizeu Lima; two grandchildren, Shayla Lima Miranda and Shane Lima; and four great-grandchildren, Chelsey, Celynna, Caleb, and Christian.
Due to the widespread impact of Elton Wood’s life, the Lima family will receive visitation and condolences at the funeral arrangements, yet to be announced.