Deceased December 19, 2019
Dean “Woody” Woodman died Dec. 19, 2019, after suffering an aortic rupture.
He was born to a Quaker family and attended Moses Brown, a Quaker prep school in Providence, R.I. After graduating from Amherst with a double major in economics and English literature, Dean joined the U.S. Navy. During the Korean War, he became a carrier-based F-9 Cougar jet pilot. He accumulated 2,100 hours of flying time with 176 carrier landings, acquiring the call sign “Blue Leader.”
After leaving the Navy in 1956, Dean had a successful banking career. He started in New York City with Merrill Lynch. In 1965 he opened a Merrill Lynch branch banking office in San Francisco, the first West Coast branch investment banking office in the history of Wall Street banking. Dean’s office became the principal banker for many large national clients.
In 1978 he left Merrill Lynch and became one of the founders of several very successful investment banking firms. In 1993, along with his son, Nick, Dean was the cofounder of GoPRO, at that time the fastest-selling sports video camera.
In 2013, Dean, a fifth-generation graduate of the school, along with his wife, Jane, gave Moses Brown School the largest gift in its 235-year history, creating a 500-seat performance center that hosts intellectual events for Moses Brown and the broader Providence community. He also contributed to the complete renovation of the school’s library, which had been created by his great-grandfather, August Jones, ca. 1900, then headmaster.
Dean’s obituary states, “Dean exhibited a dedication to principle and held himself to the highest personal standards. He filled his homes with wonderful music and a pile of great books. He had a memorable sartorial style, made friends easily and kept them forever.”
Andy Scholtz ’50