Minnie Iverson Wood
1908 - 2008
In May 2003, when Minnie Iverson Wood celebrated her 95th birthday, she conducted a choir of her former students singing the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah. The performance was part of a two-hour program held in the Loma Linda University Church to honor her accomplishments and service in music to the church. Numerous tributes and performances by former students from every decade in which she taught, from the 1920's to the present, paid tribute to her inspired teaching and musical leadership.
Earlier, in February, Wood had been awarded the Andrews University President's Medallion by President Niels-Erik Andreason. The medallion, one of the highest awards given at AU, honored both her lifetime accomplishments and the contribution in music she made at the university. Two years earlier, in 2001, the Association of Adventist Women also presented her with its Lifetime Achievement Award. She was cited at that time for her teaching and mission service.
Wood was born in Maine and attended Pine Tree Academy. A 1928 BA graduate in foreign languages and voice from Washington Missionary College, now Washington Adventist University, she completed a master's degree at Catholic University of America and did additional graduate study at Indiana and Michigan State universities and at the University of Michigan.
In the decade following graduation from WMC, she taught and traveled, married Wilton Wood in 1932, and then traveled with him for mission service in China. Upon their return in 1940, she assisted George Greer in the music program at WMC and, when he left in 1943, assumed direction of the choirs. Three years later the Woods left for six more years of mission service. On their return in 1952 she resumed direction of the choirs for four more years.
During her time at WMC the choir was noted for its high performance standards, had a weekly program on NBC radio, and frequently sang at noteworthy events in the Washington area. The choir performed in the presence of both Presidents Eisenhower and Nixon.
In 1956 the Woods accepted positions at Andrews University where they lived for the next sixteen years. When her husband retired in 1972, they moved to Loma Linda, California. She continued to teach private lessons in voice and piano through the years and in her nineties had more than twenty voice students. She died at age 99, two months before her 100th birthday.
Sources: Interview with, letter (October 2003) from, and information provided by Minnie Iverson Wood, 2003; Obituaries in Andrews University Focus, Spring 2008 , 34, and Adventist Woman, Spring 2008, 13 (Carolyn Lacy); Elizabeth Macayan, “Sharing a love of Music,” The Sun, San Bernardino County, California, B4; Descriptor for the Wilton and Minnie Iverson Wood Endowment Fund listing at Columbia Union College, now Washington Adventist University; Adventist Review, 6 September 2001, 43; Larry Kidder (Loma Linda University) biographical sketch, no date; “Voice, piano teacher celebrated at 95, The Press-Enterprise, unknown date; “Music teacher will receive service award (Music Teachers’ Association of California), unknown date and paper; “At 95, she’s still teaching music,” Redlands Dailey Facts, 3 June 2003, A6; Wood receives President’s Medallion, AU Focus, Spring 2003.