John Herbert “Jack” Wood, an attorney, art aficionado and longtime resident of Montclair, died on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2022, surrounded by his family. He was 86.

Mr. Wood was born in 1936 in Newark, the son of the late Herbert and Madelyn (Cassidy) Wood. He attended Our Lady of Good Counsel High School, where he was all-state in basketball. The Star-Ledger would later name him as one of the top 100 high school basketball players in the history of Newark. 

He attended Georgetown University on a basketball scholarship and graduated in 1958. He received his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1961 and enlisted in the Air Force, where he served in the judge advocate general’s office and never lost a case.

In 1962 he married Mary Barry in her hometown of Winthrop, Massachusetts, and their first son, John, was born the following year. After leaving the Air Force, he and his family relocated to Falls Church, Virginia, where their middle two sons, Chris and Nick, would be born. In 1970, Mr. Wood returned with his family to his native New Jersey, settling in Montclair, where their youngest son, Emmett, would be born.

He enjoyed a successful career in legal and public affairs for several pharmaceutical companies. In 1994, the couple bought a second home in the Berkshires, where he served on the boards of the Chesterwood Museum and the Alford Land Trust. He later opened the Berkshire Art Gallery, making the 2½-hour drive most weekends for 25 years. 

Mr. Wood’s eye for fine art was impeccable. He was an inveterate auction and house sale prospector. He would walk into a house sale and take the most undervalued paintings off the wall. Later, over a glass of wine, he would relish in retelling the stories of his “steals.” 

He loved to garden, and did constant battle with great blue herons, who attempted to feast on the fish from the pond at his home in the Berkshires. 

He chaired the Montclair Civil Rights Commission. He was a member of St. Cassian’s Parish in Upper Montclair, whose church league basketball team he would coach and lead to championships (and break a few clipboards in the process). He also was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution.

Mr. Wood loved the annual family trip down the Shore to Strathmere with his sons and their families. 

Above all other things, he was devoted to his beloved wife, Mary. For 60 years they sat by countless fires, watched their children’s and grandchildren’s sporting events, explored auctions together and, much to Mary’s chagrin, listened to classical music. His children and grandchildren will miss his smile that seemed to indicate an inside joke only he was privy to. 

In addition to his wife, he is survived by their four sons, John B. Sr. (Jessica) of Great Falls, Virginia, Christopher (Betsy) of Washington, D.C., Nicholas (Christi) of Rye, New York, and Emmett (Kara) of Little Silver; 13 grandchildren, ages 7 to 23; three generations of nieces and nephews; longtime friend, housekeeper and caregiver Doreen Haughton, and more recent caregiver Michael Kwakye.

He was predeceased by his sister, Joan McEnaney; her husband, Tom, and a nephew, also Tom.

Visitation is Thursday, Aug. 25, from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Hugh M. Moriarty Funeral Home, 76 Park St.  A Mass of Christian burial will be said at St. Cassian’s Church on Friday, Aug. 26, at 10 a.m., with interment to follow at Immaculate Conception Cemetery. 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Children’s National Hospital, giving.childrensnational.org.