Publishing veteran Ralph Woodward, who, over his more than 50-year career in book publishing, held senior sales and marketing roles at Knopf and Little, Brown, among others, died on May 20. He was 94.

Woodward was born on March 19, 1930, in Cincinnati, Ohio, and grew up on Cape Cod in Truro, Mass. He graduated from Princeton in 1951, and soon after joined G.P. Putnam's Sons, where he spent two years learning about the publishing business, from copywriting to sales. He then joined Doubleday as a sales rep for the Southeast. He would meet his first wife, Betty Southgate, at a Nashville bookstore. The pair married in 1955.

In 1957, Woodward was hired as a Midwest sales rep at Knopf on a recommendation to Pat Knopf from a colleague. Two years later, he was appointed advertising manager. In this role, he worked on John Updike's debut novel Rabbit, Run, and wrote the ad for the novel's announcement in the New York Times—a feat his daughter, Beth Martin of Northeast Publishers Reps, called "one of his personal favorite achievements."

After Knopf, Woodward had a brief stint at Meredith Press, where he served as sales manager and ultimately became managing director. He was then hired by Little, Brown as general manager of the children's book division, a role in which he was responsible for introducing a series of books based on Sesame Street. He went on to become marketing director at Little, Brown, supervising advertising, promotion, and sales for many noted authors.

In 1974, Woodward changed course, starting a career as an independent commission rep: with New England Books & Arts and, later, Consolino and Woodward, he worked with more than 40 publishers as a New England rep until he retired in 1996. He also published a book, New England: Off the Beaten Path (East Woods Press), co-written with his second wife Corrine Madden Ross, in 1981.

After his retirement, Ralph continued as a sales and marketing consultant to many independent publishers. He served on the board of the New England Booksellers Association (NEBA), organizing its first trade show, and was a founder of the National Association of Independent Publishers Representatives (NAIPR).

Woodward is survived by his children, Beth Martin, Cleveland, and Donald; two granddaughters, Steffany and Kristen Martin; and two grandsons, Christopher and John Woodward. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Minuteman ARC or your local independent bookstore.