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Obituary for Cindy Lou Wood

Wood, Cindy Lou, age 67, of Onalaska passed away on February 9th, 2022. Preceded in death by parents, Sheldon Wood and Grace Echols. Survived by brothers, Sheldon and Don; sister-in-laws, Linda and Lori; and daughters, Hannah and Sarah.   Cindy was born in Murfreesboro, Tennessee to Sheldon Wood and Grace Echols on April 7th, 1954. She spent most of her adolescent years growing up in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin with her parents and two brothers.   Despite heavy opposition due to her being a woman, Cindy was proactive in achieving what she set her mind to. In 1972, she graduated from Sun Prairie High school at the top of her class, where she was also an active participant in the school’s band and orchestra playing the alto saxophone and violin. In line with her love of animals, Cindy graduated with Summa Cum Laude honors from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire with a bachelor’s degree in Zoology. She continued to defy the norms of her time and fulfill her dream of becoming a physician by getting her Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health as well as her masters (M.S.) in epidemiology at the University of South Carolina.   After completing her formal education, she accepted a residency position at a reservation in Northern Wisconsin. She then moved to Kansas to work as an epidemiologist and soon after completed her final residency program in psychiatry at the University of Kansas. After having finished all her residencies--despite receiving pleas to continue work in Kansas--Cindy moved to Onalaska to work in her favorite state again as a psychiatrist for the Gundersen Health System, whom she worked for for over 25 years before retiring due to declining health in 2019.   Outside of her career, Cindy was a woman with many loves, first and foremost being her two children, Hannah (27) and Sarah (22), whom she adopted from China in 1996 and 2001, respectively. She always loved knitting, crocheting, cooking, and sewing things for them and others when she wasn’t sitting with her cats doing sudoku puzzles or watching her favorite crime and medical dramas.  Cindy passed at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse with her daughters by her side. She will be remembered as a smart, witty, tenacious woman who--despite being a little awkward in her delivery--always had an abundance of love and compassion for those around her. Her daughters would also like to give special thanks to the teams at Gundersen in the Critical Care Unit and Oncology Unit for providing such good care to her and her family during her last few weeks. A burial service will be held at the Onalaska Cemetery on Wednesday, February 16th at 11:00 AM. “We are so incredibly proud of you and all you’ve accomplished. Although we all wished our time together was longer and we dearly miss your presence, you’ll always remain with us in our memories and dreams. Thank you for teaching us how to accept and embrace our identities as minorities and as women, how to love and care for others, and how to be strong and tenacious like you. We love you so much, mommy.” – Hannah & Sarah