Ryan Chartrand

Richard Spencer Wood planned to graduate from Cal Poly winter quarter with degrees in history and political science. But his plans were cut short.

Wood, 22, was found dead on July 22 in Avila Beach after attending the 311 concert the night before.

“He was a short guy but he was so tall in terms of his personality,” said AJ Rikli, an environmental engineering junior and Wood’s fraternity brother. “Everybody respected his words so much.”

Wood, originally from Newport Beach, was an avid surfer and skim-boarder and was vice president of Lambda Chi Alpha where he had been a member for three years.

“He was basically in charge of making sure that we were all still buddies and making sure that we were all hanging out,” Rikli said. “There was nobody better than Spencer who could do that, because he was everyone’s buddy.”

Memorial services were held last week in Shell Beach, and a vigil and funeral were held in Newport Beach. Friends and family gathered to share memories of Wood.

“His family was surprisingly really strong, and there were never tears with them,” said Matt Hiranaka, an industrial technology junior and fraternity brother. “Spencer lived life to the fullest and they’re happy for that.”

Approximately 80 people attended the memorial service in Shell Beach on July 25 which was led by a local pastor.

“(Spencer’s) a person who, once he walks into a room, can make anyone smile,” Hiranaka said.

“If there were 10 of us hanging out in a room, there’s no question that it would be better if Spencer was there,” Rikli said. “He’d just bring everything together.”

Wood had been drinking with friends at Mr. Rick’s bar in Avila Beach after the 311 concert when he stepped outside to make a phone call but never came back inside, Rikli said.

He was found the next day by a passer-by at 2:13 p.m. in a shallow drainage wash off of Avila Beach Road, approximately 10 minutes by foot from the bar.

There was no evidence of foul play, according to a police report, but the coroner’s office determined that Wood fractured his skull and suffered from a hematoma.

“It makes most of us feel that we should just watch each other a little better and be a little more careful about what each other does,” Rikli said.

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff-Coroner Services Unit is conducting an investigation to determine the circumstances of Wood’s death.

“(Spencer) would always have something wise to tell us, no matter what we were doing,” Rikli said. “He could make people smile and he could make people do things.”

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1 Comment

  1. There are materials that you can easily polymerise to gels or solid plastics in the lab but most involve careful safety precautions. Further web research on your part and/ or discussion with your chem teacher would be a good idea.

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