John R. Wood
Former president of NAR and Florida Realtors
Sept. 17, 1929 – Aug. 4, 2021
The Northeast Florida Association of REALTORS® was saddened to learn that John R. Wood of Naples, Florida, a longtime leader in real estate on a state and national level, has passed away.
Wood, who founded John R. Wood & Associates, the oldest active real estate brokerage in Southwest Florida, died in mid-August. He was six weeks shy of his 92nd birthday.
A native of Arkansas, Wood moved with his wife, Wanda, to St. Pete, Florida, in the 1950s and stumbled upon Naples, which at that time only had a few thousand residents. The couple decided it was the perfect place to settle and were later encouraged to go into real estate by Wood’s father, a Fort Myer’s resident, who thought Florida “might have some good potential.”
Wood opened John R. Wood & Associates in 1958 and eventually saw his company grow to include 19 offices and over 700 agents. Much of Wood’s business in the beginning came from the sale of undeveloped acreage, as there were not a lot of homes built in the Naples area when they first arrived. At that time, Florida was known for some less than scrupulous developers, so Wood focused his firm on ethics. His firm adopted the slogan, “Walk on it before you Buy,” so that acreage buyers would know they were not purchasing swampland.
Throughout the years, Wood was active on his local REALTORS® board, serving two years as president. He also served on the Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC) and was president of Florida Realtors in 1971. A decade later, in 1981, he achieved the ultimate honor in real estate by serving as president of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). He retired in the mid-1990s but continued to serve his company as Chairman of the Board and on its executive committee until 2005 during a time when his firm was setting pre-recession records. Today his namesake continues to be one of the most successful real estate businesses in Southwest Florida, having survived and thrived throughout the years in contrast to many other companies from those early days, which have long since disappeared.