John Martin Wood

John Martin Wood of Great Falls, Va, known to many of his family and friends as Martin or Woody, passed peacefully after a series of illnesses on November 30 at the age of 77.

Born to devout Catholic parents, Jack and Margaret Lynch Wood on March 29, 1944, and the grandson of an Irish immigrant, John spent his formative years in Freeport, N.Y.  As a young man, he was an excellent student, an accomplished athlete, a champion swimmer and the center on the varsity football team at Chaminade High School in Mineola, N.Y.

A 1966 graduate of Boston College, John earned his law degree from The Catholic University of America in 1969. His distinguished legal career began in the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, an experience in which he developed many deep and lifelong friendships with his colleagues.


In 1973, he began a 36-year career at Reed Smith. He was promoted to Partner in 1980 and was later elected by his colleagues to serve as the firm’s Director of Legal Personnel, selected by the firm to serve a​s​ member of the firm-wide Executive Committee and in 1989 elected by his partners to head the Washington and Virginia offices from 1989-1995. He was highly regarded within the legal community as a skilled litigator and excelled as a trial lawyer.

He was admitted to the bars of the Commonwealth of Virginia, the District of Columbia, the US District Courts for the Third and Fourth Circuits, and the Supreme Court of the United States.


He was the eternally faithful and loving father, father-in-law and grandfather to his children, Timothy and Meagan Wood Gorgei, their spouses Catherine Thompson Wood and Paul Gorgei and his cherished grandchildren Nathan Paul and Ava Anne Gorgei.  He was a devoted loving husband to his wife Judy Messer Wood. Last month they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Together, they loved to travel, especially to the Outer Banks, where they vacationed every year from 1980, and in 1998 they accomplished their long-held dream of building their own home in Currituck County. They loved one another deeply and every day since they met in 1970. It was truly an example of love at first sight. They are a model of love and fidelity to every person who had the privilege of meeting them.


In September 1985, John and Judy moved to Great Falls, became members of St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Parish in Great Falls, and the Riverbend Golf and Country Club. He was a devoted and dedicated fan of the Washington Nationals and held season tickets for several years. The last game he attended was the team’s first win in an elimination game, the 2019 Wild Card, which began his favorite team’s run to winning the World Series.


In addition to Judy, John is survived by his loving children: son Timothy, daughter Meagan Gorgei, their spouses Catherine Wood and Paul Gorgei, his beloved grandchildren Nathan and Ava Gorgei, five siblings: Joseph, Peggy, Paul, Gina, and Elizabeth, his much-loved brother-in-law Jim Messer and Jim’s wife Anne and scores of in-laws, 13 nieces and nephews, 20 great nieces and nephews and many friends.  His was preceded in death by his sister Mary and brother Peter, 


A visitation will be held at Adams-Green Funeral Home, 721 Elden Street, Herndon, Va from 3:00 — 5:00 pm, Sunday, December 5th. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated December 6th at 11:00 am at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church, 1020 Springvale Road, Great Falls, VA. Interment immediately following at Arnon Cemetery, 646 Walker Road, Great Falls, VA.