Joe Woods, former publisher of California Builder & Engineer magazine, passed away on January 1st. He was 85 years old. Born in Cohassett, MA, he graduated from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME in 1947. His college career was interrupted by service in the U. S. Navy Construction Battalions (Seabees) on Okinawa and in China during the closing days of World War II.
After college, he joined the advertising agency of N. W. Ayers, where his Seabee experience landed him on the Caterpillar Tractor account. He later moved to another agency to work on the International Harvester account before accepting the position as Publisher of Constructioneer, a regional publication serving the heavy construction industry in NJ, NY, PA and CT. In 1969 he bought California Builder & Engineer magazine serving the construction industry in CA, NV & HI. Active with many industry associations, Joe was known for his warm smile, friendly outgoing personality and ever-present camera.
He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Barbara Woods, four children, Wendrea Woods How, David Woods, Suzanne Woods Fisher and Thomas Woods, along with 12 grandchildren and one great grandson.
I’ll add to this a very interesting story – Joe tried to enlist in 1943 when he turned 18 but they told him his eyesight wasn’t good enough. Then a year later they lowered the standards and invited him back. He was standing in his underwear for the induction physical holding a letter. When he got to the front of the line the old-timer grabbed the “Army” stamp and was about to stamp his form when Joe pushed the letter in front of the guy. It was a letter from the headmaster of his prep school (a former Navy officer) telling about Joe’s sailing background and how he would be an asset to the Navy. After reading the letter the man put down the Army stamp and picked up the Navy stamp. He ended up in the Seabees.
When he was working at N.W. Ayers they landed the Cat account and someone mentioned Joe had been a Seabee and would be a logical for the account. From N.W. Ayer he went to Foot Cone & Belding when they landed the International Harvester account, then to Constructioneer and finally CB&E. His whole career was determined by the guy changing stamps on his induction papers.
Editor note: The comment above about the ever-present camera is so true. I don’t ever remember seeing Joe without his camera. It was as much a part of him as he was part of this industry.