Raymond Douglas Woods was born September 14, 1910, in Evangeline, Louisiana. He received his B.A. degree in 1931 and his M.A. degree in 1934 (both in geology), from the University of Texas. While a graduate student there, he served as a lab instructor and tutor in geology.
Upon graduation he was hired by Humble Oil and Refining Company (now Exxon-Mobil), as one of its early paleontologists. In that capacity, he helped establish micropaleontology as the key basis for dating and correlating geologic strata in the subsurface – an invaluable science in which Exxon-Mobil remains a leader.
In 1949, Ray was transferred to Houston’s newly formed Geologic Research Section which he helped build into one of the petroleum industry’s finest geologic research organizations. One of his most significant accomplishments there was a regional study of the Ouachitas and their subsurface extension into the Marathon fold belt of West Texas and Mexico. This work resulted in a monumental volume co-authored with fellow geologist Peter H. Masson, entitled, Llanoria Structural Belt.
Before his retirement in 1972, Ray rose to Manager of Geologic Research at Exxon where, through his outstanding leadership skills and warm personality, he continued to mold and advance the careers of both newly hired and seasoned geologists.