October 5, 2023


Making a New Home

In Memoriam: 1971 Florida Realtors Pres. John R. Wood, 1929-2021

5 min read

NAPLES, Fla. – John R. Wood understood how to “light up a home.” 

He applied humor (corny and clean up jokes) and smarts (a regulation degree and a down-house Arkansan perception of article-Despair resourcefulness) to make a organization and lifelong relationships. It was this enviable mixture additionally a real wish to help persons succeed that drew people today to him.

Wood founded John R. Wooden Properties in 1958, the oldest active real estate brokerage in Southwest Florida. He died Aug. 4, 2021, just 6 months shy of his 92nd birthday.  

As the 1981 National Affiliation of Realtors® (NAR) president, Wood led NAR’s persuasive “Unlock the Economy” campaign to boost very affordable homeownership as a crucial to ending the recession when property finance loan desire costs peaked above 18%. Existing-residence sales experienced plummeted by 50% because 1978. 

He called the White Residence and Congress to undertaking at several substantial-amount conferences in Washington. “In current instances, the commitment to a countrywide housing aim has begun to disappear,” Wood explained to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs in Might 1981. “If this anti-housing craze should really keep on, our kids will be not able to find the money for homeownership, and the proper to private residence will be confined to the prosperous.”

With Wooden at the helm, “we had been energized,” suggests Bill Watson, Jr., Watson Realty Corp. founder and chairman of the board. “We were active in Washington. And when NAR experienced legislative days, we worked the ‘waterfront’ attempting to get some aid for owners,” Watson claims. “We couldn’t have a far better spokesperson. John was a charmer. Everyone preferred him – that was a massive benefit.”

Watson, Florida Realtors® president in 1981 and Florida Realtors Spirit of Advocacy award winner in 2021, satisfied Wooden in 1968 when they took GRI classes more than three many years. Wooden was appointed dean of the course. “He’d open up up with two or 3 jokes and then get his concept across … whatsoever it took to get points relocating along.”

They remained excellent good friends. “Over the years, he asked me a lot of moments: ‘Is there everything I can do for you?’ He knew how to make you really feel very good, which designed you want to do fantastic. He experienced the potential with his smile to neutralize adverse predicaments,” Watson suggests.

As president of Florida Realtors in 1971, Wooden rallied aid for condition Real estate agent initiatives. Many periods in the course of Realtor occasions, he’d be cracking jokes to get the crowd’s focus and then get to the stage, no matter if it was to aid legislative attempts or continued education. 

Talk to just about everyone in the Realtor family and they’ll say the exact same as they remember what built him tick.

Cathy Whatley, 1996 Florida Realtors president and 2003 NAR president, remembers him when she was a teen. “My father Jim Buck (Florida Realtors president in 1962) and John had been incredibly great pals and terrific joke tellers. You could be in a home and it was a comedy team trade-off. They have been engaging and genuinely amusing, and they knew how to get issues done.”

“When I ran for NAR president, John did almost everything to give me counsel, and each individual 12 months he would connect with me and speak about business enterprise. But he’d also go on about his gardens that he and his spouse Wanda tended and his tennis game. He was more substantial than lifestyle, gracious and authentic, and that was in all the things he did. He was hard not to adore.”

Wood was a resourceful person who appreciated to observe matters increase, regardless of whether it was nurturing his natural and organic vegetable yard and tropical fruit orchard or mentoring younger, energetic brokers on his serious estate group. 

He opened the organization in 1958, scraping collectively $200 regular to pay back the rent for his storefront business office by subleasing desk room to other local company individuals. He mostly marketed undeveloped land at the time. Traders ended up cautious of acquiring swampland that couldn’t be made, so John produced his very own unforgettable slogan: “Walk on it prior to you obtain,” which he painted on the aspect of the Jeep he used to push prospective customers about. Wood constructed his real estate firm’s track record on honesty and integrity, to become the premier brokerage in Southwest Florida with far more than 650 brokers and staff members in 19 places of work in Lee and Collier counties, racking up $3.8 billion in closed income volume from Jan. 1, 2021 to Aug. 31, 2021. 

Alongside with reaching the maximum-rating positions at Florida Realtors and NAR, Wooden was active in his regional Realtor affiliation board, serving two yrs as president, and as chairman of the Florida Real Estate Fee (FREC). Inside of NAR, he was a regional vice president for the Southeast and a member or chairman of much more than a dozen association committees.

He also is fondly remembered as a philanthropist and fundraiser, advocating for many neighborhood groups, these types of as St. Matthew’s Dwelling, United Way, the Larger Naples Chamber of Commerce, Collier County Junior Deputies and the Boy Scouts.  

“He was a position design to a good deal of various individuals. Not so much for how to sell genuine estate, but just for how to lead your life,” his son Phil Wood, recent president and CEO of John R. Wooden Properties, claimed in a modern tribute to his dad. Phil Wooden joined his father in the actual estate company in 1977 just after graduating from college with a business diploma.  

Jeff Zipper, senior vice president of Communications & Marketing and advertising at Florida Realtors, met Wood when he was new to the point out association administration workforce. “He took me beneath his wing, much too,” Zipper claims. “Every as soon as in a while, another person breaks as a result of every thing and allows you to see what just one particular person can do. John was certainly a leader. It was normally a superior working day when he was all-around.”

Wooden will be fondly remembered and generally admired. “He was born to direct,” Whatley states. “In his group, in his church and in the Realtor spouse and children, persons just realized this guy was heading to make a change in numerous lives in several means.”

John R. Wood is predeceased by his spouse Wanda Ross Wood (1930-2017), and survived by his son Phil, granddaughters Corey McCloskey and Nikki Wood, and two great grandchildren, Hunter and Ryli. Donations in his memory can be created to St. Matthew’s Residence or Collier County Junior Deputies.

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