Jack (Pappy) Woods was one of the first to develop an unbaked frozen pie crust, and founded Pappy's Foods to sell his frozen dough in Fridley. He started working in a bakery at age 13, cooked in the U.S. Army and after his discharge from the service in 1947, graduated from Dunwoody Institute's baking school.
More than 20 years later, he served on Dunwoody's board and in 2006 was inducted into the Upper Midwest Bakery Association's Hall of Fame.
"He was a good baker and quite an entrepreneur," said Dexter Larson, 83, a longtime friend and former president of the Bakery Association. "I think he was the first with frozen pie crust in Minnesota. He got [Pappy's dough] in with Super Valu and then with food distributors."
Woods, 82, died of natural causes Saturday in his home near Red Wing, Minn., said his daughter, Donna Marcks.
"The guy made awesome stuff," said Woods' grandson, Bill Hanisch, who still uses Pappy's dough recipes at his bakery in Red Wing. "His recipes are top-notch."
Woods, a Bakery Association board member, was an encouraging, likeable guy ready to help with association projects, Larson said. "He was always in high gear. He kept the party rolling."
Woods, who grew up in Rensselaer, Ind., started a bakery there before moving to Minneapolis in 1955 to sell flour for General Mills, and later worked in production. He left in 1962. He worked for Super Valu while getting his frozen-dough business going, said Al Knudsen, of Champlin, who started with Pappy's in 1968. Knudsen, plant production manager, said Pappy's grew from three to 54 employees and about $1 million in annual sales by 1982, when Woods sold it and retired.
Woods "made the best pecan pie," said daughter Donna. "We were the guinea pigs at home. Anything that had to do with pies, he would try."
Some called her father Pappy, but his business name stemmed from the nickname he gave his stepfather, Marcks said. She said her mother, Violet, who died in 1977, did the company books, and the three daughters helped pack frozen foods and wash bun pans.
Woods created an inaugural pie for President Jimmy Carter of Georgia and Walter Mondale, his vice president from Minnesota, in 1976. The recipe, covered in the Taste section of the Minneapolis Star in January 1977, called for Minnesota eggs and honey and Georgia peanuts to make Carter-Mondale Pie.
"We use a lot of his recipes here for sweet dough, caramel rolls and jumbo pecan rolls. They're on special this week in his honor," Hanisch said. He said his grandfather, who helped him arrange financing to buy the Red Wing bakery, "was outgoing ... and always had a story to tell. He always cared about his family."
Besides Marcks, of Lindstrom, Woods is survived by his second wife, Janis; two daughters, Nancy Begley of Kona, Hawaii, and Carol Berres of Milwaukee; three stepchildren, Knute Hanisch of Bay City, Wis.; William Hanisch II and Peggy Sorensen, both of Red Wing; 16 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren. Services have been held.