Hometown Heroes: Letha Wood

Letha Wood at the 2017 Southern Garden Party at the Moore House.

By M.G. Angulo –

It was a candlelight tour that kindled the curiosity within Letha Wood. The tour, held at the 1883 John M. Moore home in Downtown Richmond, is a special event hosted by the Fort Bend County Museum Association that allows the public to experience what a mid-century holiday season was like. With trimmings of the seasons carefully adorning each room and the promise of charming refreshments like wassail and cookies, it did not take much to draw Wood into that world.

“I just fell in love with the Moore home,” Wood said, before adding that the most intriguing aspect of the tour, however, were the docents who orchestrated it. “The ladies who led the tour were so lovely and kind, and they really got me interested in becoming a volunteer.”

Wood, who retired from a software company as a technical writer, said she has always been passionate about history, so it was not long after that candlelight tour that Wood began asking questions, going to meetings and completing training in order to join the ranks of volunteers at the museum.

“I started volunteering in 1983 but I took a break for a couple of years – staying informed but not active,” Wood said. “Then I started back, full-time, in 2012, and I’ve been with the museum ever since.”

As a volunteer of the Fort Bend Museum, Wood serves as the docent president where she leads home tours, school tours, helps write the newsletter and helps plan meetings or special events. She was also on the committee dedicated to restoring one of the rooms in the Moore Home.

Fort Bend Museum Association docents Claire Rogers, Letha Wood, Ginger Walker, Loyce Andersen, Susan Gerhardt, Barbara Johnson, Beverly Baumann.

Wood stressed that conserving history – which is exactly what the Fort Bend Museum Association has been doing since 1967 – is what piqued her interest to volunteer in this particular facet of her community.

“I have always loved history and especially Texas history,” said Wood, who moved to Rosenberg in 1965 with her family. “And that is why the Fort Bend Museum Association is so important. It is the only organization that is preserving our history from the origins of Fort Bend County to the Old 300.  It is important to protect past,” she said.

And equally important is sharing it, which is why Wood enjoys leading tours, especially the school tours packed with wide-eyed and inquisitive children. “The fourth graders usually know what you’re talking about,” she said. “The younger ones, like those in first grade, don’t really know as much, but they do always have great questions,” she added with a laugh.

Wood, who currently lives in Sugar Land with her husband, said volunteering is vital to nonprofits that protect, serve and enhance the history and heritage of a community. “It is important to give your time because most nonprofits are incredibly understaffed,” she said. “It takes volunteers to keep an organization going, to keep its programs strong, to help it remain beneficial to the community.

“Volunteering also keeps people connected, helps you stay involved, and it is fun,” Wood said. “And for us retirees, it gets us out of the house and into something important.”

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