Norma Louise Wood died Monday, Sept. 28, 2020, at her home in Rayville. She was 83 years old.
Louise was born on April 27, 1937, in Crosses, Arkansas, to Roy James and Ivy Lee (Robins) Pettit. Her father later represented Madison County in the Arkansas State Legislature. Louise was united in marriage to Ralph Wood of Bidville, Arkansas. He preceded her in death in 1998. She was then married to Paul Gray of Iowa, who preceded her in death in 2009. She was likewise preceded in death by her parents; and her sisters, Catherine, Frankie and Jackie. Louise is survived by her husband, Alvin Coop, of Independence.
Also surviving her are two sons, Randall Wood (Deborah Ward) of Lexington and Russ Wood (Pamela Randol) of Rayville; a daughter, Jackie Werle (Dennis Layton) of Excelsior Springs; and five grandchildren, Joshua Wood, David (Heidi) Wood, Andrew Wood, Cassie Werle and Alison (Brian) Williams. Louise’s sister, Sue Davis; and brother, Darrel Pettit, survive her as well, as do her great-grandchildren.
Louise was raised in Elkins, Arkansas, where she excelled in high school basketball. After her marriage, she moved to Kansas City, where she worked at AT&T and Southwestern Bell, and was an active member of the Communications Workers of America. Louise and Ralph came to the Rayville area in the 1970s, where they established a family farm, raising crops and cattle.
Louise was a serious motor racing fan from her first visits to Kansas City drag strips with Ralph, and she supported and sometimes managed her children and grandchildren as they went on to compete in the sport. For several years, the family operated a race team at the national level in the NASCAR All-Pro Series, with sons Randy and Russ as crew chief and driver, respectively. Louise loved bluegrass music and spending time with her friends and family while cooking, gardening or mending fences on the farm.
The family suggests memorial contributions in lieu of flowers be made to the International Bluegrass Music Association Trust Fund: https://ibma.org/bluegrasstrust-fund/donate/. Such donations in Louise’s memory may be delivered by hand or by mail to Thurman Funeral Home; 507 E. Main St., PO Box 190; Richmond MO 64085. They will be forwarded.
Thurman Funeral Home in Richmond is handling arrangements, including an inurnment to be held at a later date. Please share your memories of Louise by visiting www.thurmanfuneralhome.com.