Upcoming Services

Martin Rosenbaum Thu Sep 24th at 1:00
Evelyn Cohen Wed Sep 23rd at 3:00

View More



Paula C. Wood

Paula Christine Wood, Ph.D., the longtime former Dean, College of Education of Wayne State University, passed away on May 18, 2020 from complications associated with the coronavirus. Born in Kansas, the 71-year-old most recently resided in Birmingham, MI.

Paula started school in Topeka, KS her family later moving to Mobile, AL and then Battle Creek, MI where she graduated in 1967 as salutatorian from St. Phillip high school.

She received bachelors and masters degrees from Michigan State University in East Lansing and taught in two public school systems before earning a Ph.D in Special Education, also from MSU, in 1976. Paula then joined Wayne State University in Detroit as assistant professor. She earned the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1987 and added the duties of associate dean of curriculum for the College of Education (COE) for a five-year stint through 1991. In that year she was appointed interim dean of the COE and in 1993 was named dean, a position she held until her retirement in August 2010.Under her leadership the COE built an exceptionally strong research and teaching faculty, expanded academic offerings, strengthened scholarship programs, obtained significant grant funding, and help direct the raising of substantial sums during the University’s capital campaigns.

Paula was thought of as a dynamo who lifted everyone around her with a capacity to "bring-out the best" in people. She successfully managed and maintained a long-term, stable administrative team in the COE and found avenues to work with colleagues in the Detroit Public Schools. During a time when the tenure of most college deans is relatively short, Paula's qualities and skills allowed her not merely to maintain her position for so many years, but in fact to leave the college with a legacy of accomplishments. Paula published numerous articles in professional journals, presented over 50 papers at national and international conferences and was a visiting lecturer at Oakland University.

Paula is preceded in death by her loving parents, Lawrence J and Barbara E Fink. She is survived by her two sisters, Roberta Boyle of Milwaukee, and Linda Stone of Memphis as well as two brothers, Timothy Fink of coastal Mississippi and Dennis Fink of Atlanta. Aunt Paula treasured her six nieces; Anne, Katie, Bridget, Peggy, Trin and Natalie as well as her two nephews; Mike and Drew. She also adored her eighteen grand and great nieces and nephews.

The generations of Paula’s many nieces and nephews were thrilled by her thoughtful attention and visits which included legendary “You can have absolutely any concession items you want,” no parents allowed adventures to the movies.

The family and friends are also most grateful for Paula’s devoted friend and caregiver Anita Dudley.

When safer conditions prevail a private graveside service will be held for family members at Pinecrest Cemetery in Mobile, AL where her parents are both laid to rest.

It is suggested that those who wish to further honor the memory of Paula C. Wood may do so by making a contribution to:

Gleaners Community Food Bank Detroit
PO Box 33321
Detroit , MI 48232-5321
Click to Visit Charity Website

William Beaumont Hospital
3601 W. 13 Mile Rd.
Royal Oak, MI 48073
(888) 683-7678
Click to Visit Charity Website