Ridley Watts, a plastics packaging expert and Cleveland jazz authority, died April 18 at his Cleveland-area home in Hunting Valley. He was 73.
Watts, who held more than 30 patents, founded American Packaging Corp. in 1956. He sold the company in 1979 to Nordson Corp. of Westlake, Ohio, but continued to develop packaging innovations. Most recently, he invented a machine to make loose packaging fill from recycled paper, called SpirOfil, right at a shipping location.
He formerly served as chairman of Patriot Packaging Corp. of Cleveland, which invented the SpirOfil technology. He also was an owner of Phoenix Systemation.
Watts, a lifelong jazz fan, was born in New York. He moved to Northeast Ohio in the early 1950s. He and his wife, Mabel, hosted a jazz festival at their home.
Later, the popular festival moved to a local shopping mall to accommodate the crowds.