Cover photo for Barclay F. Wood's Obituary
Barclay F. Wood Profile Photo
1933 Barclay 2023

Barclay F. Wood

December 8, 1933 — June 2, 2023


WORCESTER - Nationally acclaimed organist, teacher, and church musician, Barclay F. Wood, passed away peacefully on June 2, 2023.  

Barry, as he preferred to be called, served for 40 years as Minister of Music and Arts at the First Baptist Church in Worcester, where he not only provided excellent organ and choral music for worship every Sunday, but also presented great choral works in concert for the larger community. Before coming to First Baptist, Barry served as organist choir director at Harvard Church, Brookline; Christ Church, Waltham; as associate organist at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston; and as Interim Organist and Choirmaster of All Saints Church in Worcester, where since retirement, he has been a member and served in many volunteer capacities.   

Perhaps his greatest joy in life and his principal legacy is as a teacher. Numerous local, national, and international organists received training, coaching, and mentoring from him. In addition to private teaching, he served as a member of the music facility at many universities and colleges including Andover Newton Theological school, Brown University, Atlantic Union College, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, The University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Clark University and Assumption College, which awarded him an honorary doctorate degree in 1998.

Barry was born in Manchester CT, the son of Frederick M. and Florence E. Phillips Wood. He had his first piano lessons with his mother, but at an early age was drawn to the pipe organ as his instrument of choice.  He earned his Bachelor of Music from Yale University, and Master of Music from New England Conservatory. 

He had an active career both locally and nationally as a concert artist and was a frequently featured performer for many conventions of the American Guild of Organists and played dedicatory recitals on many newly built or restored pipe organs. He served as the Dean of the Worcester Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and was involved in restoring the famous Hook Organ at Worcester's Mechanics Hall and was a featured performer at its rededication.

Barry's students, choir members, colleagues and friends were his family, and all are grateful for the gift of his talent, wisdom, friendship and support. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Music Memorial Funds at either First Baptist or All Saints Church.

A celebration of his life will be held at All Saints Church, 10 Irving Street in Worcester on Thursday, July 13 with an organ prelude performed by students and colleagues beginning at 10:30 AM and the service starting at 11 AM. Committal will be on Friday, July 14 at 12PM in East Cemetery, Manchester, CT.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Barclay F. Wood, please visit our flower store.


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