Gregory James Wood

Gregory James Wood

VERONA – Gregory Wood, 64, of Verona, Wis., went to heaven on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023, following a brave, year-plus battle with pancreatic cancer.  He was a kind, loving spouse to Val, and a devoted father to his son, Sam.

While he grew up with the name Greg, most knew him by Woody or Lucky.  He will long be remembered for his smile.

Initially meeting in Illinois, Val coaxed him back to the Madison area where they resided since 1997.  He was always a Green Bay Packers fan, and he quickly became an avid UW Badgers fan.

As a supportive and very proud dad, he coached everyone of Sam’s youth sports – football, basketball and baseball.  He even went that extra mile and learned the sport of lacrosse to coach what ultimately became Sam’s favorite sport where they won a state title in 2018.
Greg had a passion for helping others.  He provided and served meals to the homeless through the Loaves and Fishes program at the Luke House Madison.  Plus, the entire family volunteered for The Road Home Dane County, which provides supportive services to help families step out of homelessness.

He found solace in the outdoors and enjoyed hunting, camping, fishing, biking and snowshoeing.  On their first trip together in 1996 to Alaska, Woody told their guide he knew Val was the one after she caught the first salmon.  Ironically, a highlight from their last family trip together in 2019 was salmon fishing on Vancouver Island.

Woody also enjoyed live music.  He favored the Blues and admired good guitar skills, but his taste was wide-ranging.  He could name artists from many genres.  Rarely would you see him dance except when he heard Short Skirt Long Jacket by Cake.

Greg was genuine — what you saw was what you got.  He accepted his responsibility as a dad with great pride, explaining to Sam the importance of looking someone in the eye, talking with confidence, and the value of a firm handshake.  Greg also honored the old-fashioned value of holding the door open for others, instilled that in Sam, and continued to try to do that even as he grew weaker.

Greg was born in Brainerd, Minn., on June 8, 1958. He graduated from Brainerd High School, where he often talked about his choir trip to Europe where they sang a Bach Motet in German, and the audience cried.  He received a B.S. in Marketing and Business from Bemidji State University, where he played college football.

He completed a successful 30-plus year career with Federated Insurance before retiring in 2013.  Following a short hiatus where he mastered his cooking skills, he joined Duluth Trading Company (resulting in the Wood family wearing a lot of plaid), and eventually moved onto a second career at Exact Sciences, before resigning due to his illness.

Greg is survived by his wife, Valerie; son, Samuel; mother, Sharon Fjelstad (Clarence Taatjes); sisters, Cynthia Gronning (Mark), Lisa Wood and Shari Chrovian (Dan); brothers, James Wood Jr. (Stacey) and Tom Webber; and step-mother, Jodi Wood.  He was preceded in death by his father, James Wood; and step-father, Charles Fjelstad.

A memorial service will be held at GOOD SHEPHERD LUTHERAN CHURCH – WEST CAMPUS, 7291 County Highway PD, Verona, at 11 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 3, 2023.  Visitation will be held at GUNDERSON FITCHBURG FUNERAL AND CREMATION CARE, 2950 Chapel Valley Road, Fitchburg, from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, and also at the church from 10 a.m. until the time of the service on Friday.

The family expresses heart-felt appreciation to Agrace HospiceCare for their incredible care and support and to the many nurses and physicians of the UW Carbone Cancer center who participated in Greg’s care.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations in Greg’s name to Agrace HospiceCare, the Luke House Madison or Online condolences may be made at

Gunderson Fitchburg

Funeral & Cremation Care

2950 Chapel Valley Road

(608) 442-5002