2020
2020

CHAI statement on the passing of W. Edward Wood

 

Ed Wood

W. Edward Wood

We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our longtime colleague, Ed Wood. Ed joined CHAI at its inception, helped establish many of our offices, and supervised our operations for over a decade. His dedication, compassion, and tremendous leadership capabilities were essential in making CHAI the successful organization it is today. He was a mentor and friend to many, and his contributions have helped to save the lives of millions of people. We send our deepest condolences to Ed’s family, friends, and all those who loved him.

We invite the many people who knew and loved Ed to post messages of remembrance and support below.

35 Comments

  1. Ira Magaziner

    When President Clinton and I first started CHAI in 2002, I asked Ed if he would come out of retirement to help us build the organization. He agreed to come for a year and wound up staying for over a decade, overseeing our operations for much of that time. He started up our offices in Tanzania, Ethiopia and Kenya and many other countries. His sound judgment, tenacity, compassion and overall leadership abilities are legendary at CHAI.

    He was a humble man who never sought the limelight, but his actions and accomplishments spoke loudly. He mentored many of the people who are now country, program and operations leaders throughout the organization. Hundreds of thousands if not millions of people around the world who might otherwise have died are alive because of the dedicated work that Ed Wood did to help build CHAI.

    The world has lost a great man. May he rest in peace.

  2. Kristin Koskella

    Ed was a gentle force of nature whom I had the pleasure of meeting during my early years at CHAI. His engaging warmth made us all feel comfortable and respected in his presence. My thoughts and prayers are with him and those he leaves behind. I am sure God has welcomed him with open arms. He will never be forgotten.

  3. Yigeremu Abebe Asemere

    Ed has special connection to Africa. He opened a number of CHAI offices including the Ethiopian office. The Ethiopian office has reached a phenomenal size and responsible to save the lives of millions of Ethiopians suffering from AIDS and other communicable diseases. Ed played key role in this holy mission. Ed is so kind and visionary leader very much liked by all staff at CHAI Ethiopia office. His commitment to ally and mitigate human suffering is extraordinary. Ed made significant change in the lives of all senior leaders in CHAI including that of mine. it is really heart breaking to hear that Ed passed away 2 days back. i am profoundly sorry for passing of Ed. My hearts and minds are with his family: Linda, Erika and Dan and the rest. His legacy remains with CHAI for years. Ed RIP

  4. Vishal Brijlal

    It is very sad to hear of Ed’s passing. I first met Ed just over 14 years ago in Addis. In the time I knew Ed he was a kind and humble person. He always fought for what’s right and touched the hearts of many. Rest in peace Ed…you will be missed and never forgotten.

  5. Mphu Ramatlapeng

    I first met Ed in 2004. We were a small team, trying to do what then looked impossible, helping Lesotho Government to distribute ARVS. ED came to view our progress on one of his visits. We were eager to show off our work and we were feeling up beat and sure that we had done a lot. What he said was: to date you have only reached low hanging fruits in the lowlands, that is not progress, when you have reached the highest clinic in Lesotho, call me. All this was said with a smile and the gentlest voice that he had.

    I am proud to have been hired and mentored by him. He never raised his voice, he gave undivided attention new meaning, he valued his staff, loved people. When he said he wanted to save lives, he meant every word. Millions of people around the world are alive today because of his dedication to the course of CHAI.
    I sincere want to thank his family for lending him to us for years and years.

  6. Peter Okwi

    Having worked with Ed to support the HRH program while I was with CHAI Rwanda, I had the distinct pleasure of learning from and being inspired by his humility and yet firm effectiveness at multiple levels – with Government, with staff and with Partners..

    Ed and his wife Linda became firm friends of our family – visiting them in Rhode Island was one of the most memorable times for us… May you rest in peace Ed… You will be dearly missed

  7. maeve

    When I joined CHAI in 2008, I had the pleasure of working with Ed, a gentle and wise man, with unbounding influence, you will be sadly missed Ed

  8. Moses Massaquoi Snr

    I am so touched and I know many of us will keep his memory forever. I was recruited by Ed and I remembered he was on field trip to Malawi when my interview was arranged. Today, the CHAI Liberia team has fond of memories of Ed as a great humanitarian worker. CHAI Liberia team extends sympathy and condolences to the bereaved family. May his soul and the souls of all faithful departed rest in perceptual peace. RIP Ed.

  9. Zach Katz

    Ed’s humility, graciousness, spirit, and quiet leadership have been an inspiration to so many colleagues and friends. What a huge loss for the world. I hope his family know the deep impact he had on so many of us. We can only aspire to live as richly and graciously as he did.

  10. Alice Kang'ethe

    I met Ed wood in Tanzania in February of 2003 when I joined CHAI as a volunteer. Ed believed in me, and many others at CHAI, at a young age when we had limited knowledge about public health. He was a great mentor over the years, a father and grew to be a close friend.

    Outside CHAI, Ed extended his compassion and service to multiple families across Eastern Africa. He was a Babu (grandfather) to many young Eds and Lindas named after him by the families he supported. He extended our families in an amazing way.

    In 2018, still delighted about the birth of my daughter, he travelled with his wife from his home in the US to Nairobi to meet her. This was special. I cherish the memories. I will be forever grateful.

    Rest in peace Ed. You have left the world is a much better place

  11. Raphael Hurley

    I first met Ed in 2011 on one of his regular visits to Ethiopia. Ed always took time to come and find me, sit down with me in my office or over dinner, and was always so interested in what I was working on. He was a very kind and sincere person, with impressive humility. He would share some useful thoughts and advice in such a gentle way that it almost didn’t even feel like feedback, but usually what he said left me with lots to ponder for days afterwards. Ed is one of the people at CHAI who taught me, through example, what it means to live by the CHAI values.

    I’m deeply saddened to hear of his passing. Rest in Peace, Ed.

  12. Joe Wanyoike

    I have grown to know Ed as a Leader, Mentor, Friend, and Father figure. Interestingly, this sad news finds me in Tanzania, where I first met Ed as he and the CHAI family launched me into Global health back in 2005. I remained close with Ed and Linda through the years and even joked about consulting together most recently in Global Health practice. Ed and Linda have always been kind to share their lives with others, especially in achieving life’s most significant purpose of touching lives in meaningful ways. I visited with some of the orphans he supported in Rwanda and the local taxi driver who picked him up every so often in Dar es salaam. Ever so caring and engaging with people of all walks of life, I will continue to Cherish moments like the “Long Silent Conversations” on one evening in Kigali after engaging with the government and medical specialists from the US and Rwanda on improving the quality and supply of medical specialists in the country. I stand in awe and gratitude with many whose lives have been shaped and spurred by Ed’s illustrious footsteps in this world.

  13. Jorge Quevedo

    I met Ed and Linda in 2009 during a visit to Mozambique. He was one of the most gracious, humble and effective men I have ever met. He was a walking and breathing mentor, even if you worked with him only for a few days. Very generous with his time and intellect. He simply radiated love for mankind. I like to think that we are all better because of him.

    Godspeed Ed.

  14. Richard Freeman

    Ed was so supportive during a formative stage of my life and he was instrumental in my career. He recruited me to Ethiopia when he was building our team there. He put his heart and soul into an incredible enterprise that came to deliver such meaningful service. Because of Ed, more people received ART, more children and infants who were HIV+ are alive today, more people have access to hospitals in Ethiopia that are better managed by CEOs who are better trained, more rural health centers were outfitted with equipment, more health workers received the mentorship that has allowed them to save more lives, and more people received life-saving diagnoses from labs that are better run. Not only are people all around the world better off because of Ed, but he changed the lives of everyone around him too. He enabled this while he built an extended family among us, and he created space for us to express our potential in pursuit of the social justice that motivates our hearts. Ed, words don’t capture the breadth of your legacy; you touched lives across the farthest reaches of the globe and your contributions here will be felt for many years to come.

  15. Joan Muasa

    Ed’s compassion and love for everyone fueled our urgency to save lives and inspired me and others at CHAI to seek solutions to operational hurdles. It was amazing what we constantly achieved within a short time and moved to the next task still energized as he pushed us to develop a strong operational infrastructure to support a growing organization. Ed gave each one of us undivided attention, taking the time to get to know us and our families. Ed made the time from his busy schedule to meet and welcome my mum the first time she visited me in Boston. He was kind, thoughtful and as a mentor generous with his knowledge and wisdom. It was an honor to grow under his watch. I would like to thank Ed’s family for sharing him with us. We can only aspire to lead and positively impact so many as he did. Rest in peace Ed.

  16. Zeleka Yeraswork

    Ed had a kind spirit. He made time for people. He asked thoughtful questions and he always shared the best anecdotes. He cared deeply about Africa, he cared about solving complex problems and he was so very skilled at forging strong partnerships. I met Ed in the elevator at the Clinton Foundation office in New York. He interviewed me over coffee and gave 23 year old me the opportunity of a lifetime. He mentored me and years later flew to the Bahamas with Linda to attend my wedding. He was a giant of a man with humble ways. I am grateful that our paths crossed. May he rest rest in peace and may his legacy outlast us all.

  17. Yahya Ipuge

    I met Ed while I was a middle level officer at MOH in Tanzania leading diagnostic services and was part of the team assembled to support the development of the Care and Treatment Plan for Tanzania. He was with a team of volunteers. He visited me in my small at the MOH and we had a very good discussion. He understood the needs of developing countries and he gave suggestions in such a respectful way that you could not but like him.

    Our relationship continued when I joined CDC Tanzania to lead the programming for HIV and AIDS that later included the PEPFAR programs. . Our interactions grew to friendship. Then he engineered a head hunt that saw me move to CHAI Tanzania in 2005 where I stayed for 6 years.

    He was very supportive and I will remember him a a great leader, a very good person, compassionate and with true love for people in need. He and Ira were always supportive and encouraging me to do not and more for people in my country.

    He may have passed on, but his legacy will stay forever in people touched by his work.

    We gain solace in remembering that we are all from the Almighty God and to him we shall return.

    Rest in eternal peace Ed

  18. Oliver Sabot

    Ed embodied the CHAI spirit in all of its powerful contradictions. He was endlessly patient with people and relentlessly impatient about reaching more people in need with life-saving interventions. He led with heart, deeply investing his time into individual staff and patients. And he was analytical and organized, always carrying the burden of trying to get the horse in front of – or at least alongside – the warp speed cart that was CHAI.

    I fondly remember many dinners where he would quietly listen to me ramble out our programs, occasionally asking a wise question in his gravely voice. He was humble to the bone, but was also made of steel beneath his gentle exterior. We disagreed on some decisions, but he always caring and thoughtful in his firmness.

    Most of all, it was so clear that he was devoted to his family, but also willing to sacrifice so much of his time and his energy on behalf of millions of people who will never know him and how he impacted their lives.

    The world is a better place – and I am a better person – for knowing Ed’s service and compassion. He will be deeply missed.

  19. Zita Miller

    I was sad to hear of the passing Ed Wood such a wonderful soul. He was kind and a very friendly person who always had a smile and greeting for everyone that he met. I met Ed when I joined CHAI back in 2010 may me feel very welcome to the CHAI family. He will be missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to Ed’s family and friends! He is now with the angels watch over everyone!!

  20. Anne Sliney

    Ed Wood and Ira are the two people most responsible for CHAI maintaining allegiance to our mission and culture over the past 18 years. Ed not only believed in the uniqueness of CHAI, he insisted on new employees embracing a different way of approaching global health work -humility, urgency and “ getting shit done”. And he did this while still mentoring and guiding young employees and volunteers to take on seemingly overwhelming challenges. Many times I saw Ed arrive in country and bring a sense of calm and an ability to focus on the goal.
    This morning I read the extraordinary death notice in the Providence Journal. Ed had a long career in environmental management, transportation and state government before accepting the challenge of building CHAI’s presence in global health.
    I can’t imagine having a greater legacy than Ed’s. We all should be so blessed. That of course does not lessen the pain that Linda and the rest of Ed’s family feel. Please accept my sincere condolences.

  21. Lise Ellyin

    I am grateful to have known Ed. As others mentioned- his humility, kindness and quiet strength were a mix that made for a great leader and mentor. Seeing Ed in 2015 at our management meeting as another “retirement” appearance was a sign of his enduring commitment and friendship with so many. On behalf of the CHAI Mozambique team, we send our sincere condolences to Ed’s family and friends. Your legacy lives on in many of our countries Ed.

  22. diana noble

    Ed absolutely embodied CHAI. Its culture of caring first and foremost about the outcome, regardless of how hard it might be to get there. Its respect for Africans, listening to what was needed and working humbly in their service. I was proud to work alongside him and learned so much from him.

  23. Jeffrey Blander

    Although it has been a while, was so grateful for my time with CHAI. The amazing thoughtfulness and kindness by all the staff, including Ed to make sure our team was supported and able to do its job with the greatest sense of purpose, urgency, & efficiency. There was never a question considered too ‘dumb’ or task too small (or big for that matter) that Ed or the exec team wouldn’t help us on. Regardless of the time of day. Full stop. Sending all our thoughts for healing and peace. Best, JMB

  24. Susie Rheault

    Ed was my friend, my mentor, and more recently our most valuable board member for The Precious Project in Tanzania. He changed my life by recruiting me to come to Ethiopia to work for CHAI in 2006. Thereafter I sought his advice his counsel and his perspective on many issues. Ed had a deep respect for all the Africans he worked with and an eagerness to give young first-timers a start. On the board of our project in Tanzania he provided ballast and depth to all of what we were trying to do for the 350 kids in our school. I will miss him sorely.

  25. Carrie B Jacobson

    Comment I knew Ed through my dad, a friend and neighbor of the Woodses in Tubac, AZ. When prompted, Ed would talk about his adventures and accomplishments, but never in a bragging or prideful way. I have known him for years, but had little idea of the depth or breadth of his pursuits. That presentation speaks worlds about the character of the man, I believe. He will be missed in the big circles, I know, and he will be missed in the small but soulful circles of his friends around the world.

  26. Steve Kisakye

    Ed, the humble and passionate global (and African) development leader. I connected with Ed in my very early days at CHAI in Tanzania. His passion for ensuring that care and treatment services reached everyone was what kept many of us going and energised, knowing that we all shared a mission. He was eager to listen and co-create ideas, and always had a sense of optimism in trying new ideas on inclusive access to health care, particularly in rural areas. Many can definitely say that Ed played a major role in the formative parts of their careers, and I am no exception. His legacy will live on, and he will always be a friend and mentor.

    Ed, as you walk with the angels, your legacy will live on…

  27. Joy

    Given the enormous role Ed played in CHAI’s inception and development, I have many memories of Ed as a colleague. But the one that sticks with me the most, especially in this moment, is from Trevor Peter’s wedding in Harare, Zimbabwe many years ago. I remember watching Ed and Linda dance for hours in the moonlight, putting us twenty-somethings to shame, and thinking “Oh, I hope I find love like that one day.” Their delight in one another’s presence, deep mutual respect, and shared passion for being of service were so striking and so rare, and set a standard for me for what marriage could be. I’m so grateful to have known Ed and send Linda and all his loved ones my deepest condolences.

  28. Andy and Sarthak

    In 2011 when he was CHAI’s CEO, Ed Wood came to a remote clinic in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea to open an HIV treatment site there. During the opening speeches, an impressive tropical downpour started and did not relent—the tarp over the dais started to sag with water and threatened to break over the heads of the speakers, Ed among them. There were tense moments when our hosts were very concerned that that this potential engineering failure would annoy the guests. Not only did Ed not mind, but he smiled and laughed through the whole experience. Everyone from doctors to clients was naturally at ease with Ed; that reflects what learned about him in other experiences as well; Ed never dwelled on what was uncomfortable in a particular situation. He was, earnest, an excellent listener, and absolutely ebullient. We are so grateful to have known him.

  29. Dai

    My heart goes out to everyone who knew and loved Ed. So many of us who joined CHAI as a young age were still just beginning to figure ourselves out — how to serve, how to lead, how to cross the river of life on a bridge of our own making. We were so lucky to have the chance to come to know Ed. What I will regret most in my life are failures of kindness; Ed had astonishingly few of those. I can’t imagine any better model or mentor you could hope to have on your team. We won’t forget what Ed did and we especially won’t forget how Ed made us all feel.

  30. Elizabeth Bradley

    I remember Ed saying to me in the first flight to Addis “Welcome to Africa.” And he meant it. How often we would say there, “But Ed, how can we possibly do xyz?” (to whatever the aspirational assignment CHAI envisioned). And he would just say “You’ll come up with something.” And he was right, usually. A person who believed in the goodness of others, the possibility of anything, and the importance of keeping your word. So glad Ed and Linda could visit Vassar last year, and our students loved him, as we all have.

  31. Jackson Hungu

    Ed came to our family home with a teddy bear after the birth of one my children a decade ago on one of his trips. The kids called him “Father Christmas.” They remember him fondly to this day. My family is devastated with this news.

  32. Audrey Battu

    The last time I spoke to Ed – he gave me a call because he wanted to double check all of his dates of employment at CHAI. We had a bit of a laugh that he didn’t seem to know them and that he thought I would. I jokingly asked if he was updating his CV again for a new adventure, and he said that could be. But he was really updating his global entry application because he had lots more travel that he wanted to do. This was just last year. He quickly said, “enough about me, let’s talk about how you are doing”. And that was Ed’s way. He would always check in on my family, he sent me a note of celebration for every major milestone in my life, for my wedding, the birth of each of my children, every job change.
    The world is so lucky to have had such a generous and caring spirit all of these years, and my thoughts go out to Linda and the rest of his family. I know his love for others came out of that same love that he had for his family. He is greatly missed.

  33. Jennifer Barragan

    Ed holds a special place in my heart. I will never forget Thanksgiving 2006 when he invited 30-year old me to join his family for dinner because he knew I was spending it alone away from my family. I was living in Boston, after quite a career change, and had been interning at CHAI for almost 6 months at that point. As the end of my internship approached, I was looking for employment opportunities in my new field of global health and Ed told me about a post in Ethiopia to work as the manager of their medical equipment program. I was quite hesitant, unsure if I could manage such a posting, but that Thanksgiving he convinced me and a few weeks later I was off. He made me believe in myself and that I was more than capable of taking on the role. Ed changed the trajectory of my career, and I am certain I would not be where I am now without his persuasive nature. Working for CHAI in Ethiopia is now one of my most treasured life experiences. It also paved the way for my future with WHO. I wish I had been able to express my gratitude to Ed while he was alive but we lost touch over the years. I know I am only one of so many that Ed helped in this way and his impact through his work extends to millions. The world has lost an amazing soul. May his family find solace and peace in knowing that his legacy will endure for generations.

  34. Alison End Fineberg

    Ed was a very special mentor, friend, and leader who made me so much better both as an individual and as a professional.

    We first started working together when I was with CHAI in Swaziland on a tiny team. Ed was passionate about helping us secure enough funding to ensure we could provide the right support to the Ministry of Health. He was instrumental in pursuing a new partnership, which ultimately led to a big grant that changed the trajectory of our work there. I found Ed to be supportive, yet empowering – always giving me space and encouragement to lead, while showing up at all the right times to back me up. Even when we were no longer working together at CHAI, Ed was always willing to be a sounding board. He was kind, yet honest. He pushed me to make better decisions.

    Ed was also incredibly generous with the time and energy he invested in getting to know me as an individual. Ed and Linda visited us in Lao PDR when we moved there to start a new office, they made a trip to Montana to celebrate our wedding, and they sent thoughtful notes and gifts when our children were born.

    Ed was a connector – and he was invested in the lives of so many people around the world. I was able to keep track of many people I respect and admire from CHAI through Ed’s stories about those he followed and cared about. He was also willing to share stories about himself and, even more so, Linda and his children and grandchildren. He was always filled with such pride and love when he spoke about them.

    I loved joking with Ed about how many times he had come out of retirement. He had so much to offer the world and seemed to draw great energy from being able to contribute – no matter the challenge.

    Ed had a fantastic laugh and a wonderful, warm hug. I am so grateful to have known him and I aspire to continue learning from his ways and the life he lived. He will be greatly missed and my thoughts are with all who loved him, especially Linda and the rest of his family.

  35. Charles Di Leva

    I am not associated with CHAI, but Ed was my mentor when he enabled me to start my career in 1979, and I loved reading how many young people at CHAI had the same amazing relationship with this incredible man. Everything I admired of Ed’s great talents when he turned around the state of environment in Rhode Island forty years ago, he clearly brought to Africa and the world at CHAI. As everyone on this page has noted, we have lost a great and loving man. It’s up to us to continue his legacy.