Town Crier News Staff
The first Sammie Virgil Wood Continued Education Scholarship will be presented during Honors Week at the Arkansas State University College of Agriculture Honors Banquet Tuesday night, April 10, in the Hames Room of the Convocation Center.
"Sam always wanted to go back and get his masters degree in agriculture at ASU," Mrs. Wood said. "I think it would mean a lot to him to establish this scholarship in his memory, and to have it go to a student that is workings on a master's degree in agriculture."
The scholarship is provided by Sissom and Wood Farms, Inc. of Cardwell. The farming corporation was started by Sammie and Sandra Wood and her parents, Lawrence and Neva Sissom.
Sammie Wood was originally from Jonesboro and he met his future wife Sandra Sissom, from Arbyrd, while they were students at ASU. Sammie earned his degree in Agriculture Business with Sandra obtaining a degree in Elementary Education.
"We were introduced by a friend at the Wigwam on the campus at ASU," Mrs. Wood said. "I was very impressed with Sam, as he was all dressed out in his ROTC uniform. I lived at University Hall during the week and went home to Arbyrd on the weekends. We had our first date attending the late movie at Senath, near my home."
"We had the love of agriculture in common, as my father was a farmer by occupation also," he said. "We dated about a year and married after his college graduation in 1967."
Sammie Wood went into the Army and was stationed at Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo. Sandra Wood did her student teaching at Leachville and graduated from ASU in 1968.
"Sammie worked for Staple Cotton in Greenwood, Miss.," Mrs. Wood said. "He took up flying in his spare time while we lived there and went on to become a licensed pilot with several certifications. He was well acquainted with mechanics from his work at the ASU shop and with the airplanes he flew."
The Woods moved back to Jonesboro, where he worked as an accountant at Colson Corporation in 1969.
"With well rounded training in agriculture, mechanics, and accounting, Sam was ready to go into farming full time," Mrs. Wood said. "We moved to the Missouri farm in 1969, near my parents, and settled into the farm life we had always wanted. Our son Clayton and daughter Ashley were born while we lived there."
The Woods built a new home on Highway 164 between Cardwell and Arbyrd in 1980. The children attended Southland School. Mrs. Wood was an elementary teacher there for 30 years, retiring in 1999.
"When our son Clayton died at the age of 13, Sam and I established a scholarship in his name at Southland School," Mrs. Wood said. "Since Sam wanted to do this for Clayton, I just know he would want us to do this for him, to help students at ASU."
Daughter Ashley went on to attain her doctorate in Agriculture, and she and her husband David Renck reside In Warrensburg, Mo., where she is assistant professor at the University of Central Missouri.
"Education has always been a high priority in our family," Mrs. Wood said. "This scholarship will be a way to make a positive contribution to the lives of students for years to come."