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Obituary: Alan Wood, 90, former JPL official

April 24, 2013

Alan Wood, a former official at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, died at his Sierra Madre home on April 18. He was 90.

A Navy lieutenant during World War II, Wood played a role in the 1945 battle for Iwo Jima. While his LST was beached under Japan's Mount Suribachi, Wood was approached by a Marine seeking a U.S. flag to raise atop the mountain. Wood handed the Marine the flag that ended up being used for the iconic photograph taken by Joe Rosenthal.

Born May 3, 1922 in Pasadena, Wood attended high school in that city and enrolled in the University of California at Berkeley. After the start of World War II, Wood continued his studies at Berkeley, joined the ROTC and became a Naval officer. Following the war, he attended Art Center in Pasadena and became a watercolor painter.

In 1947 he married Elizabeth Trimble. Three years later he joined JPL, first serving as a technical artist there, then working in the lab's public affairs office. He helped coordinate news coverage of such JPL missions as Mariner, Viking, Voyager and Galileo.

Wood is survived by his son, Steve Wood, of Solana Beach. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Sierra Madre Episcopal Church of the Ascension.

-- Carol Cormaci, carol.cormaci@latimes.com

Follow @CarolCormaci on Twitter.

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