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Fans mourn Sandy Wood, the voice of 'StarDate'

Sandy Wood
Courtesy photo
Corene Dyer At Photography By Corene
Sandy Wood

A voice TPR listeners knew for decades died on Feb. 15.

The public largely discovered Sandy Wood when she started doing voiceovers in 1991 for a two-minute daily snapshot of the universe called "StarDate."

The program is a production of the McDonald Observatory near Fort Davis. It offers cosmic stories to explain precisely how the universe would behave on any given day. Sometimes it was an introduction to quasars. Other times it was all about black holes. And other days it would detail how to see an upcoming meteor shower.

Wood’s warm, contralto voice and familiar demeanor helped make the nearly inconceivable understood by listeners on more than 300 NPR stations nationwide. In a 2015 interview with TPR, she said she too was surprised that she’d been doing this feature for so long.

“Almost 24 years. I can’t believe I held a job — one job — for 24 years!” she said.

Wood was born in San Antonio and grew up in Corpus Christi. In a statement, officials at the Observatory mourned her death and explained that she "first began her broadcasting career in the 1960s, serving as a radio DJ, talk show host, and voice talent for local, regional, and national clients, including NASA."

Wood retired from the show in 2019 and returned to the Alamo City.

"With her passing, we have lost a tremendous talent and wonderful person," the Observatory added.

The tone for "StarDate" was set by the spacey music used in its intro, followed by two minutes of exacting information read by Wood, delivered in a friendly voice.

After explaining the secrets of the universe for a quarter of a century, most fans might consider her an expert. But she said she wasn't.

“Oh, I wish I were. I probably have a working knowledge of the universe that most people don’t have, but by no means am I an expert,” Wood said.

She said she enjoyed shining the light on a lot on those things which some people were not curious enough to see, or perhaps worse, choose not to even look for.

“I think we take for granted the amazing planet we live on. It is truly miraculous,” Wood said. “When you look up at the night sky, every night you will see something amazing.”

Her voice was distinctive enough that a few times she had been recognized in public.

“It’s happened three times, and it’s pretty fun when that does happen. The first time it happened, I was buying a dress in Las Vegas, Nevada. I signed my name, and the woman checking me out said, ‘I knew I knew your voice!’" Wood said.

She is survived by her husband Skip, who announced her death on Facebook. Funeral services were pending.

TPR was founded by and is supported by our community. If you value our commitment to the highest standards of responsible journalism and are able to do so, please consider making your gift of support today.

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii