South Bend Tribune
South Bend, Indiana
November 3, 2005
Many Thanks to Ida Chipman for graciously allowing us to reproduce this article.

Remembering the dead
Heart and Hands leader honored in annual ceremony

Tribune Correspondent

Enrique Salazar, 4, and Anna Victoria Baca, 2, place flowers on the grave of Tony Wood at a Day of the Dead ceremony Wednesday at Oakhill Cemetery in Plymouth.
Tribune Photos/IDA CHIPMAN

PLYMOUTH -- The spirit of Tony Wood certainly isn't going to go hungry or thirsty.

On Wednesday, the Day of the Dead, his former students brought him apples, oranges and bananas.

Also at a small shrine at the Hearts and Hands office at 308 E. Jefferson St., were pan de muerto (sweetbreads for the dead), golletes (similar to doughnuts) and fresh water.

Wood died five months ago, on June 7, 2005.

He and his wife, Mary, had been the driving force behind the Corazon y Manos, also known as Heart and Hands Inc.

Tony Wood had guided the organization to its not-for-profit status, working with educators at Ancilla College and Plymouth, Bremen and Culver schools to fund and staff classes.

The Center offers programs for local Latino community members to assist in bridging cultural differences. More than 800 students have learned English since classes began four years ago.

So, it made sense that family members and former students met at Heart and Hands and at Oakhill Cemetery to sing songs and pray in Spanish and English.

They prayed, they remembered and they celebrated.

There were tears and hugs and thankful hearts for the life of Tony Wood.

It was all part of an ancient Latin American ritual honoring the deceased on the Day of the Dead.

Alice Ruiz, a teacher at the center, said the water is absolutely necessary.

"The spirits have made a long journey and they are very thirsty," she said.

There are candles -- or ceras -- to illuminate the way, as well as incense, photographs and bouquets of flowers in both locations.

A Groucho Marx nose and eyeglasses and colorful paper cutouts adorned an altar. A golf club stood in one corner with a golf ball perched on the table.

Tony loved to play golf.

There also was a chocolate candy skull with glittering green eyes.

The shrine to Tony Wood in the office of Heart and Hands, 308 E. Jefferson St., Plymouth, has a number of mementos, including a golf ball, a Groucho Marx-style nose and glasses, a chocolate skull, bouquets of flowers and plates of food.

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