Deceased December 29, 2016

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50th Reunion Book Entry

In Memory

Amherst has lost another member of the class of ’49. Woody Kingman passed away on Dec. 29, 2016, of complications from pneumonia following a stroke. He was 91. Family members from all over the country came to say goodbye, the homily was delivered by Bishop William E. Swing, the pastor who performed his marriage ceremony in September 1996 when Woody was 71 and getting married for the first, and last, time and his nephew and brother-in-law had them laughing in the aisle with family stories. As a capper to his life of mountain climbing, banking and in the political sphere, Woody enjoyed a happy life for the last 20 years, playing golf, skiing and walking his beloved golden retrievers every afternoon at 4 p.m. St. Stephen’s Church in Belvedere was overflowing with more than 200 people from near and far. Woody rarely missed an Amherst reunion and counted those years as some of his happiest.

Claire McAuliffe


Known by everyone as Woody, he was 91 and died from complications of a stroke suffered four years earlier. He grew up in Wayzata, a western suburb of Minneapolis, and graduated from Blake School in 1943 as head boy. Following three years of army service, he followed in the footstep of others in his family to attend Amherst. For those who knew him, Woody was a warm, gentle man who like many in our class was in a hurry to make up for time spent in the army. He took time to be the captain of the ski team, vice chairman of the Student and president of Psi U. He graduated with honors and many, many friends. Years later, he became an alumni trustee.

Following Amherst, Woody attended Harvard Business School from which he graduated in 1951 and then on to a life centered around banking and investments, politics and public service and dangling off of ropes in dangerous places, mountain climbing.

His banking experiences started with Citibank in New York. He became involved in New York City politics and was appointed to the New York City Council by then Mayor John Lindsay. He lost a close re-election bid to Ed Koch. President Nixon appointed him the first president of the Government National Mortgage Association which under his leadership rapidly grew into one of the country’s most important sources of mortgage financing. He spent 10 years in San Francisco as head of the trust department at the Crocker Bank and then back to Washington to serve as associate director of the U.S. Information Agency under Presidents Reagan and Bush. He returned to San Francisco in the investment business.

Mountain climbing was a passion. He climbed in the U.S. and Canadian Rockies, Alaska, Nepal, Tibet, the Alps and Antarctica. Many were major climbs.

Woody was quick to point out that the best part of his life started when as a 71-year-old bachelor he married Claire McAuliffe, a San Franciscan originally from Marblehead, Mass. His friends agreed. They lived in Belvedere with a beautiful view of San Francisco Bay and enjoyed a richly deserved good life in Northern California.

Cousin Joe Kingman ’49

50th Reunion

How does one single out the highlights of the past 50 years? That's not easy, but I would certainly include my early years in New York City, where I got my start in the financial world at First National City Bank, and where I got my feet wet in politics when Mayor John Lindsay appointed me to fill a vacancy on the New York City Council. The only problem was that after two years I had to run for re-election as a Republican in a 3- to-1 Democratic district in Manhattan. Surprisingly, it was an extremely close race, requiring a recount, which was finally won by my opponent, who was Ed Koch, (later to become Mayor).

Another highlight for me was to go to Washington, D.C in 1969 to take a post in the Nixon Administration as the first President and CEO of the Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA or "Ginnie Mae"). It grew rapidly and was great experience. After five years in the government, I moved to San Francisco to join Crocker Bank for 10 years. Then there was one more detour in Washington D.C. to serve in the Reagan-Bush Administration as Associate Director of the U.S. Information Agency.

In 1991 an opportunity with a small investment firm brought me back to San Francisco where I had decided I wanted to end up. In that year, I joined an expedition to Antarctica where we successfully climbed Mt. Vinson, at 17,000 feet the highest peak on that continent. Mountaineering has been one of my favorite hobbies since I was ten years old. Over the years, I have been on expeditions in Nepal, Tibet, and Alaska and in the Alps.
The most important event of my life came in September 1996 with my marriage to Claire McAuliffe of San Francisco, originally Marblehead, Mass. We both like hiking, mountains and skiing-and particularly enjoy our home in Belvedere overlooking San Francisco Bay. Please come see us.

Finally, I am so grateful for my Amherst education, for my wonderful Amherst friends and classmates, and for having had the opportunity to serve as an Amherst trustee. My thanks to all of you.


Woody Kingman