Obituaries of note: William H. Wood, Bonnie Lynn Fields

November 20, 2012
William H. Wood
U.Va. official

William H. Wood, 69, a veteran Virginia journalist and founding director of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia, died Nov. 16 at his home in Birmingham, Ala. He had complications from Alzheimer’s disease.

The death was confirmed by his wife, Carol Wood, a longtime U.Va. spokeswoman. He died several weeks after the Woods had moved to Birmingham to be near their son.

Mr. Wood was born in New York and raised in Luray, Va. After graduating in 1966 from Duke University in Durham, N.C., he worked for 26 years in the newspaper business. He spent his last 10 years in journalism as editorial page editor of the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk before coming to the University of Virginia and the Sorensen Institute.

Mr. Wood launched the institute at U.Va. in 1993 as an educational and training organization for Virginia’s emerging political leaders. More than 1,000 Virginians have graduated from Sorensen’s programs, which are conducted around the state.

Bonnie Lynn Fields
Mouseketeer

Bonnie Lynn Fields, who danced and sang her way into pop-culture posterity as one of Walt Disney’s Mouseketeers, died Nov. 17 in Richmond, Ind. She was 68.

She had throat cancer, according to her friend Emily Kay Tillman.

The South Carolina native was 12 when she was offered a prized slot on “The Mickey Mouse Club,” the children’s variety show that launched the careers of Annette Funicello and others. Ms. Fields joined the cast for its third season in 1957-58.

Although she appeared most often in the show’s background chorus, she stood out as an agile dancer. In later decades, Ms. Field’s career encompassed film and theater. She also ran dance studios, including the Lynn Fields School of Tap and Performing Arts in Santa Monica, Calif.

As a Mouseketeer, she followed an intense schedule, which, she told the Indiana newspaper in 2006, consisted of “three hours of school, one hour of recreation, one hour for lunch and four hours on the set.”

— From news services