Ronald J. Woods, philanthropist, industrialist and publisher, who built major plastics and magazine businesses, passed away Saturday, May 25, at home at The Ritz-Carlton Residences at Trump National in Jupiter. He was 77.
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A native of Detroit, Mich., and a chemical engineering graduate of Notre Dame University, Mr. Woods borrowed $20,000 and launched Thermofil, Inc. in 1967 to develop and manufacture formulations for injection moldings of plastic parts used in the automotive, appliance, business equipment and construction industries. It had hundreds of employees and plants around the country when he sold it in 1989. He moved to Palm Beach, increased his philanthropy and, in 1991, decided to build a publishing company by buying Palm Beach Illustrated magazine and launching other magazines.
Palm Beach Media Group became one of the country's most successful and respected regional publishing companies. It also publishes Naples Illustrated, Weddings Illustrated and the Charity Register in Palm Beach and Naples, as well as magazines for The Breakers, The Mar-a-Lago Club, Waldorf Astoria Naples and other clients. Woods' father owned a graphic arts business in Detroit and Woods was a messenger for it during high school. He developed a passion for fine paper, vivid photography and illustration and found an outlet for it in the magazine business. PBMG's magazines are recognized world-wide for their production values, photography and paper quality.
Woods bought ranches and other property in Montana through the years and spent most summers on his largest ranch outside Belgrade near Bozeman. A few miles from his summer home, he built Bootstrap Ranch on 52 acres and made it a high school for disadvantaged urban youth from around the country. He gave them teachers, room, board and an outdoor, rural experience. Many of the students went on to success in college and in life.
Woods was a longtime board member of Ballet Florida, a generous supporter of the Kravis Center and many charities. He loved to travel, especially to Italy, and was a quiet supporter of young people in Palm Beach and Collier Counties.
A few close friends and his German Shepherd pal Cooper will travel to Montana to spread his ashes. Memorial contributions may be made to Big Dog Ranch Rescue in Wellington, Fla.
Howard Quattlebaum Funeral, Cremation and Event Center
754 Us Highway 1
North Palm Beach, FL 33408
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on May 30, 2013