J. Mable Wood


Mable Wood, a pianist and organist, taught for 52 years at all levels in the Seventh-day Adventist school system. Although she started as a grade school teacher in the South, most of her career was spent teaching at three Adventist colleges.

Mable was born in Natalbany, Louisiana, one of three children and the older of two daughters of Grant C. and Alwilda Wood. She graduated from Southern Junior College in 1920. Both she and her sister, Rosabelle, began their teaching careers in church schools in the South and were teaching in Louisiana at the time of the 1930 U.S. Census.

After teaching in Shreveport, Louisiana, where she doubled the enrollment of the grade school, Wood was hired to teach the intermediate grades at Southwestern Junior College in 1936.  Beginning in 1940 she started teaching piano and organ at the college.

In 1945 she accepted a position at Union College, where she taught piano and organ for the next four years. While at UC, she completed a master's degree at the University of Nebraska. In the fall of 1949 she returned to teach piano at her alma mater, renamed Southern Missionary College (now Southern Adventist University).

Described as a refined and elegant person by her colleagues, Wood was respected by them and loved by her students, who were inspired by their contact with her in piano and organ lessons and music theory classes. She served as church organist at SAU for many years.

Following her retirement in 1967, she became Assistant Director of Alumni Affairs, a position she held until her death nine years later. In that position she revised and updated an earlier history about the college, A School of His Planning, which was released in 1972 as part of the college's 80th anniversary celebration. An Emeritus Associate Professor, she was untiring in her efforts to help raise funds for the new music building, which was named for her following her death.


Sources: Dennis Pettibone, A Century of Challenge: The Story of Southern College, 1892-1992; Elva B. Gardner, A School of His Planning (1892-1962), 151; Gardner and J. Mabel Wood, Eighty Years of Progress, 179; Dedication Program for J. Mable Wood Music Building, 23-25 October 1981; Obituaries, Southern Tidings, April 1976, 26, and The Southwestern Record, 27 March 1976; Southern Memories, (Southern yearbook); 1948, 1949 and  Golden Cords (Union College yearbook); 1920 and 1930 U.S. Federal census records, Ancestory.com.