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August 5, 2017 by Joe Harwell


     Emily Churchill Wood was born in New Jersey in 1925, twenty-five miles from New York City. She lived on the family farm and her father commuted daily to the city. At seventeen during World War II, she fell in love with Phil Wood who served in Italy with the Tenth Mountain Division. She graduated from Smith College in Massachusetts where she majored in government and served on Student Council and president of the Honor Board. Phil and Emily married upon his discharge from the military. They lived for two years in a dormitory and in veterans housing at Princeton University while Phil got his B.A. Emily taught Social Studies before the birth of their first child, Martha, in 1947.

     She spent the next nineteen years as an eager company wife while Phil worked for Union Carbide Corporation living in New Jersey, St. Louis (son Arthur born in 1950), Michigan (son Ben born in 1954), Chicago, and New York (son Warren born in 1966). In 1971, she received a Masters Degree from Manhattanville College and thus began a teaching career which continues to the present with multiple certifications in many areas.


     Cities Service Corp. then headquartered in New York, hired Phil to start a plastics division in 1966. In 1974, Emily, Phil and Warren moved to Tulsa when Cities Service relocated. Both enjoyed the many great arts and cultural opportunities in Tulsa while Phil climbed the corporate ladder and Emily taught at Town and Country School and Northside Tulsa Public Schools. During this period, they entertained many international visitors and exchange students. They founded the Booker T. Washington AFS chapter and served as PTA presidents while Warren was at Booker T. Washington. Emily was named Tulsa Teacher of the year while teaching at Patrick Henry Elementary, Oklahoma Semi-finalist and 1990 Foundation for Excellence Elementary Medalist for innovative economic, law related and international programs.

     Emily was tapped to be the lead teacher when Eisenhower International School was founded where she founded the first elementary exchange in the U.S. and the Culture Box Program. An interlude at Heritage Academy the Jewish Day School, was marked by student written and produced mock-trials.

     Emily was Phil’s campaign manager during elections throughout his 21 year tenure as Tulsa City Auditor. They represented Tulsa at six Sister Cities. Phil died in 2013. In 2016, Emily published a book about their life “It Was Magic” selling on Amazon and local bookstores including Decopolis Book and the 41st Street location of Barnes & Noble. Profit from the book is donated to Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation on behalf of her teenage grandson who is a Type 1 Diabetic.

     Emily was honored to be chosen one of the 100 Tulsa Women of Moxie in 2014 and one of the Democratic Women of Courage in 2016. Her moxie and courage continue to be eident. In May she received an award from the Tulsa Arts Alliance for education work for Chamber Music Tulsa. She was also recently elected Democratic Precinct Chair for 81. Emily lives at Methodist Manor and has nine grandchildren and six greats. Still teaching in her nineties, she continues to be active in local and national organizations and causes she believes in.




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