Philip R. Wood of Austin, Texas, formerly of Yardley, died Sunday, March 2, 2014. He was 23. He was killed tragically in a hit-and-run car accident in Austin.
Phil was born on Jan. 30, 1991, to David and Julia Wood in Princeton, N.J. He is survived by his parents, maternal grandparents, Richard and Magda Rueda, as well as two uncles, an aunt, and four cousins.
The family will receive friends beginning at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, March 12, at St. John The Evangelist Catholic Church, 752 Big Oak Rd., Yardley, PA 19067, followed by a Funeral Mass at 11 a.m. Interment will follow at 12:45 p.m. at Newtown Cemetery, Washington Ave., Newtown. A reception for family and friends will be held at 1:30 p.m. at the Yardley Country Club, 1010 Reading Ave, Yardley, PA 19067.
While limited to only 23 short years, Phil had a full life with many achievements. He also overcame many challenges. At an early age he was diagnosed with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, which he battled hard throughout his life to overcome. A measure of his success in this regard was that he was only two months shy of graduating from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Kinesiology and Education.
Phil found sports at an early age as an outlet for his boundless energy. He was also blessed to have been given the gift to run like the wind. After the age of 11 he had become a top ranked and well-known middle distance runner, winning many regional and national honors. His proudest moment came at the age of 15 when he won the AAU National Cross-Country Championship. At the age of 17, he represented the North East U.S. team at the Footlocker National Cross Country Championships. Perhaps more important than his racing achievements, was that he was highly regarded by his and other coaches, his team mates and opponents — and their parents, for his training ethic, knowledge of his sport beyond his years — and as an ambassador for his school teams and his sport.
Prior to going to college, Phil ran track and cross-country for St. Ignatius in Catholic Youth Organization competitions, for the Three Amigos Track Club in AAU National Junior Olympic Track Championships, and at high school for La Salle College High School and the Pennington School.
As a high school senior Phil was heavily recruited by colleges as a distance runner. He decided to attend the University of Texas in Austin on a sports scholarship – a city where his grandparents were retired. Attending UT as a scholar-athlete had long been his dream. He competed for three years at UT, but struggled progressively with injury, which ultimately forced him to stop running competitively. This devastated him for a while, but he ultimately was able to pick himself up, and threw himself with refocused passion into learning coaching – and how to teach all round fitness. He was considering making a career as a college track and cross-country coach – and had a dream of one day setting up and managing his own gyms.
A memorial service was held in Austin for Phil earlier in the week attended by over 200 friends and his teachers and coaches from UT, as well Hyde Park Gym companions. Many spoke of his passion for life and sport which had inspired them. They also spoke of his kind heart, friendship, ready smile, helpful nature, and that fact that he never spoke ill of others.
In place of flowers please, any donations to The Philip Wood Scholarship Fund which is in the process of being established c/o the FitzGerald-Sommer Funeral Home, 17 S Delaware Ave, Yardley, PA 19067. FitzGerald-Sommer Funeral Home