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New Jersey Living Memorial, A Grove of Remembrance
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Richard Herron Woodwell ‘79 was destined for business success from an early age. As a sixth grader growing up in the Pennsylvania town of Ligonier, Woodwell — who was an avid coin collector — would often trade coins with the elderly owner of a local jewelry shop.
For Woodwell, known to his friends as “Woody,” a childhood hobby would eventually lead to a lifelong career in investment banking, in which he worked as an equities trader for the New York firm Keefe, Bruyette & Woods. Woodwell, who served as Senior Vice President in the company’s trading department, was stationed on the 89th floor of World Trade Center Tower Two when the second hijacked jet struck the building.
He embarked on his career in investment banking immediately following graduation, initially working as a floor broker for Dean Witter at the Pacific Options Exchange in San Francisco. He married his wife Linda Preston in 1988, and soon afterward moved to Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J. Friends and family members remember a man devoted to his job and family in equal measure.
“He was dedicated to his work but not wrapped up in it,” wife Linda Woodwell said, telling how Woody coached soccer teams for two of their three young children, and often took the family on skiing vacations, in addition to spending summers on Cape Cod at their family’s house in Hyannisport.
While at Dartmouth, Woodwell excelled academically and was widely admired by his classmates. According to ’79 class president William Mitchell, Woody’s popularity was due to his adventurous and confident nature, and his sheer enthusiasm for life and friends.
Late one night at Dartmouth Woodwell was asked to make a run to the William Tally House, a 24-hour eating establishment located at the bus station in White River Junction. Such “Tally Rallies,” as they were known, were not uncommon, though Woody added the novel twist of driving clothed only in boxer shorts.
After skillfully explaining his predicament to police during a pullover on the interstate, Woodwell arrived at the Tally House only to be stopped by a “no shirt, no shoes, no service” policy. Undeterred, he donned a girl’s sweater conveniently found in the back of his car, placed two golf club covers on his feet, and successfully reentered the store.
“It obviously took a tremendous amount of casual confidence, and that’s why he was beloved by his classmates,” Mitchell said.