A Celebration of Life memorial will take place at Tomoka Christian Church on Tuesday, March 26.
When former Ormond Beach Mayor Charles David Hood Jr. was first diagnosed with cancer, he was given six months to live.
For the next 12 years, he battled the disease, successfully beating it on multiple occasions. But the tumor returned last December, and the esteemed public servant, former circuit judge, state representative, attorney and city commissioner died at his home on Friday, March 15, with his wife Lorry Hood at his beside. He was 64 years old.
“There’s a certain grace and dignity in being able to be at home," said Sharon Damante, a close family friend. "And that’s what Lorry wanted to provide for him.”
Hood was born in 1954 in Fort Polk, Louisiana, graduating from Alexandria Senior High School in 1972. He was an avid musician who played eight instruments, and performed at the Vienna Opera House in Austria while in school. His musicianship landed him a full scholarship to the University of South Carolina, where he played clarinet.
After he graduated cum laude from the USC Law Center, he joined the Cobb Cole law frim in Daytona Beach. In 1988, he formed Smith, Hood, Loucks, Stout, Bigman and Brock, P.A., serving as the firm's managing partner from 2000 to 2014.
During that time, he also served as an Ormond Beach City Commissioner from 1992-1994, and then mayor until 1999. In 2012, he ran and won the race to represent Florida House of Representatives District 25. When his term was over, he was appointed to the bench in the 7th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida by former Gov. Rick Scott. He served for two years.
“He was just a tireless, tireless community servant, and I think he’ll be greatly missed because of that — because he affected so much positive change," Damante said.
His friends and family will remember him for his humor and loyalty, she added. Damante described Hood as a hilarious joke-teller and a huge history buff with an incredible retention for knowledge. He was a treasure trove of knowledge and energy, she said.
In Oct. 27, 2018, named the Ormond Beach City Hall plaza in Hood's honor, a way to ensure his legacy lives on.
Ormond Beach Mayor Bill Partington said in an email that he was deeply saddened to learn of Hood's death. Hood was a great mayor, he said.
"His leadership has had and continues to have lasting positive impacts on our city," Partington said. "... He fought a long health battle with courage and dignity. He will be missed."
Partington added that flags will fly at half-staff in Hood's honor in both Tallahassee and Volusia County on Tuesday, March 26.
Former Ormond Beach Mayor Fred Costello said Hood was one of the most generous, active and community-minded supporters in the city. Costello's granddaughter had brain surgery just a couple days after Hood also had a brain surgery. They prayed for each other, he said.
"I want to thank the entire community for the outpouring of love David and I have received over these past few months since the return of his cancer. My husband was a great man who did many great things, but most of all he was my true love, and I will miss every moment to come without him. We are grateful that he was here to welcome the birth of our granddaughter this week and with God’s blessing, that now he may join his son Clay in heaven."
Lorraine "Lorry" Hood, wife of Charles David Hood Jr.
"What I will miss most about David is his quick wit his competitive spirit and his desire to make everybody involved feel appreciated," Costello said.
All three of Hood's children attended Tomoka Elementary during the time Volusia County School Board member Carl Persis was principal. That's where Persis met Hood, and it was Hood who convinced him to run for the Ormond Beach City Commission. He's also the reason Persis said he later ran for mayor.
Together, Persis and Hood remained friends and worked together on community issues. Hood was always ready to help charities, and Persis said Hood's heart was in helping children in poverty.
"If you needed an ally against a formidable foe, there is not anyone you would rather have than Dave Hood," Persis said. "While people know about the many positive things he achieved as a forceful attorney and visionary public official, I want them to know the gentle side of Dave Hood, who cared and generously gave his money and time to help children."
Being around him could be exhausting, Damante said with a laugh, but only because Hood was great at getting people to care about public service causes and getting involved.
“His enthusiasm was quite infectious, so you found yourself getting swept away and involved in things that you probably didn’t have much time for," Damante said. "But you know what? Afterwards, you were darn glad you did it.”
Hood served in many local charities and service organizations. He created the "Build Them by the Dozen" campaign for Halifax Habitat for Humanity, raised money for Easterseals, AdventHealth's cancer institute (formerly Florida Hospital Memorial Cancer Center) and was one of the founders of the Margarita Ball, which collects toys for local children during the holidays.
Damante said Hood felt it was everyone's responsibility to give heartily, should their circumstances allow it. Not doing so was letting down the community.
"I just hope the citizens of Ormond remember that he was always their champion, even when they didn’t know what he was doing — even when they didn’t know that he was championing things for them," Damante said.
Hood is survived by his wife, Lorraine "Lorry" Hood, his children Charles and Lauren, stepchildren Louis Garafolo Jr., Lauren Womack, his parents Vera and Charles Hood Sr., as well as his two brothers, two sisters, two grandchildren, and numerous nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins.
A Celebration of Life memorial will take place at Tomoka Christian Church, located at 1450 Hand Ave., on Tuesday, March 26. The family will greet guests at 2 p.m., with services to follow at 3 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center, made payable to: The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center, DUMC Box 3624, Durham, NC 27710. Donations can also be made online at https://www.gifts.duke.edu/dukehealth/?designation=3912597
Story was updated at 10:22 a.m. on Monday, March 18, to update the date flags will fly at half-staff for Dave Hood, and to include comments by Volusia County School Board member Carl Persis.