Deceased August 21, 2011
Ron Woodbury died of cancer on Aug. 21, 2011.
Ron and I spent our high school years at the Belmont Hill School in Massachusetts. Ron was on the soccer, baseball and 56-straight-game-winning basketball teams. As a senior, Ron expertly carved from a wood block a globe with a banner around it that said, “Comfort the afflicted, afflict the comfortable.” Ron was way ahead of us in the depth of his thinking—and his liberal beliefs.
Ron and I (plus Geoff Parker ’65) followed Ron’s brother Bob ’60 to Amherst. Ron played freshman tennis, graduated magna cum laude and in his sophomore year met a Mount Holyoke freshman named Melissa Teele (whose father became treasurer of Amherst while we were there). Melissa was as cute as Ron was handsome, a sports-lover and intellectually his equal. They married in June 1965.
Ron took a Ph.D. in Latin American history from Columbia in 1971 and taught at the University of California at Irvine and at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash. In 1993, he became dean of the Panama Canal College. (Anti-military Ron, showing his defense department ID card to shop at the cheaper PX, was truly ironic.) He retired in 2001 and moved in 2009 to Pendleton, Ore., where a daughter lives. He wrote penetrating articles for the local newspapers on national and international issues.
Ron’s presence “filled the room”—he was a passionate scholar and teacher and a willing listener to others’ opinions (usually after he expressed his own). He was a loving and dedicated husband, father of talented daughters (Deborah ’89, a medical doctor; Sarah, a doctor of anthropology and a writer) and grandfather. Ron was active in his church and was a mentor to fellow educators and many students. For these reasons and countless more, Ron will be missed by family, friends, colleagues and all who knew him.
Steve Carr ’65