Elaine F. Wood, a retired Baltimore County Health Department secretary and World War II veteran, died Tuesday of dysphagia, a swallowing disorder, at her Towson home. She was 98.
The daughter of Wesley Fennell, a salesman, and Frances Letetia Stocksdale Fennell, a homemaker, Elaine Fennell was born in Baltimore and raised in Forest Park.
After graduating in 1933 from Forest Park High School, she earned a bachelor's degree in 1937 from what was then Western Maryland College. She also studied at Strayer's Business College in Baltimore.
In 1943, Mrs. Wood enlisted in the Navy WAVES. After completing training in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Stillwater, Okla., she was stationed in San Diego, where she was secretary to the discipline officer.
While in San Diego, she met Frederick W. Wood II, a young naval lieutenant who was also from Baltimore. The couple married in 1944 and settled in La Jolla, Calif.
After the war ended, the couple returned to Forest Park, and in 1956, moved to Towson's Campus Hills neighborhood, where Mrs. Wood lived for the remainder of her life.
In the late 1940s and early 1950s, she taught 4-year-olds at the old Homewood School in Roland Park and later at a private kindergarten in Forest Park.
Mrs. Wood began her career with the Baltimore County Health Department in 1964 as secretary to Dr. Mary E. Matthews in the department's Maternal and Child Health Division. She retired in 1984.
She fulfilled a lifetime dream in 1985 when she began taking oil painting lessons at the Bykota Senior Center in Towson. She exhibited her work for 25 years at the Towsontown Spring Festival, where she earned numerous ribbons.
In recent years, she also displayed her work at the Cromwell Valley Arts Festival and was featured in the Towson Times.
She and her husband were world travelers who visited Europe, Scandinavia, Central America and the Caribbean. They also traveled to Canada and in the U.S.
Her husband, a performance analyst in Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.'s industrial engineering division, died in 2001.
A memorial service will be held at noon July 12 at the Ruck Towson Funeral Home, 1050 York Road.
Mrs. Wood is survived by two sons, Frederick W. Wood III and Wesley F. Wood, both of Towson.