Edward J. Wood Gave All to Cardston
After Charles and Zina Card, there is perhaps no individual with a more prominent role in the history of Cardston, Alberta, than Edward J. Wood.
Born in Salt Lake City in 1866, Wood had already proved his devotion to the Lord by the time he arrived in Cardston in 1901. At the age of 21, after becoming engaged to be married, he was called on a mission to the Samoan Islands, delaying his marriage several years. He returned in 1892 and married Mary Ann Solomon, and they already had two children in 1896 when he was again called to Samoa. This time, at the age of 29, he served as mission president there for two years without his wife and family.
A year after his return, family members who had moved to Alberta, Canada, convinced Edward and Mary Ann to join them, and by September 1901 the Woods had arrived in Cardston. The town’s aging founder, Charles O. Card, invited Edward to assume management of the Cardston Mercantile, and Wood soon also found himself heavily engaged in Church work there.
Beginning with missionary work among less active members , in his first year Wood also served as Sunday School president and before long was called as the second counselor in the Cardston Stake presidency. Less than a year later – and less than two years after his arrival in Canada – Edward Wood was called to preside over the newly created Alberta Stake.
In addition to his leadership, Wood was also responsible for the colonization of 67,000 acres of Church land northwest of Cardston. He oversaw surveys of the land, identified town sites, and was the Church’s agent in selling the land. The towns of Glenwood and Hill Spring were the result of his labors.
When the Church built a tabernacle in Cardston, they asked Wood to oversee its construction. Plans for a temple soon followed, and Wood was again called upon to chair the committee that oversaw its construction. When the temple was finished in 1923, Wood was called as its president. Having already served twenty years as the stake president, Wood filled both roles for another nineteen years, until he was released from his stake duties at the age of 76. It would be another six years before he was released, in 1948, as the president of the Cardston Temple. Before long, he was called to be the patriarch of the Alberta Stake. Wood died in 1956, just half a year shy of his 90th birthday.1