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Obituaries

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Woodward "Woody" Kingman

Woodward "Woody" Kingman died from stroke complications at age 91 on December 29, 2016, near his home in Belvedere, Calif.

Woody is well-remembered as a gentle and strong, principled man whose generosity of spirit and unfailing optimism earned him close friends around the world. He lived a rich and full life, climbing mountains, managing organizations, serving in the military and in government, and getting married, finally, age 71, to Claire, the love of his life. That second stage of his life was a priceless treasure, with a busy, happy home, world travels, new joint friendships and, for twenty years, the pure and simple joy of an overdue and very loving marriage.

Woody was born on September 5, 1925, in Minneapolis, Minn., to Henry and Josephine Kingman. He enjoyed an idyllic childhood with his brother, Henry, and sister, Helen, on the shores of Lake Minnetonka, the source of his life-long love of water views and the outdoors. In the footsteps of his father and grandfather before him, Woody attended Amherst College, graduated with honors in 1949, and was elected trustee, by write-in ballot, in 1985.

In 1936, Woody's father introduced him to the Canadian Rockies, inspiring a life-long passion for climbing that took him to the far corners of the globe. His highest summit, 16,050 feet, at age 62, was Mt. Vinson in Antarctica. Other notable summits include Grand Teton at age 15, Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn and many peaks in Yosemite. Other major attempts include Denali and Everest, where in 1981 he was on the support team, with Sir Edmund Hillary, for a first ascent of a route on the southeast face. Woody may be most famous for an attempt on an unnamed and unclimbed peak in Burma, now Myanmar, where on descent he became lost in a blinding snowstorm and jogged in place, overnight, to stay alive.

Between 1943-1946, Woody served in the U.S. Army in Okinawa and Hario, becoming the commanding officer of the repatriation center for Japanese POWs and displaced native Japanese at age 21.

In 1951, Woody graduated from Harvard Business School, which lead to a successful banking career, with Citibank in New York and later with Crocker Bank in San Francisco, where he served as executive vice president, trust division.

Woody's political life began in New York in the early '60s with the Young Republicans. A fearless and passionate advocate, he raised money, enlisted supporters and even ran for State Assembly. The district demographic was a mountain too high. Mayor John Lindsay rewarded him with an appointment to the New York City Council. The re-election campaign was so close that a recount was contemplated. Ed Koch beat him. But not by much.

Woody's political skills, business experience and passion for the cause then drew attention at the national level. In 1970, President Nixon appointed him as the first president of GNMA — the Government National Mortgage Association, the only mortgage-backed securities backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. Between 1970-1974, Woody built the portfolio of this fledgling agency from zero to $350 billion, real money in those days. He later served as associate director of the United States Information Agency from 1984 to 1990 in the Reagan administration.

An avid joiner of political, social and civic organizations, Woody was a proud member of the Lincoln Club of Northern California, treasurer of the San Francisco and Marin Republican central committees, a long-time member of the Bohemian Club, and past member of the Pacific-Union Club, Burlingame Country Club, California Tennis Club, Harvard Club of New York City and Chevy Chase Country Club. He was a member of the American Alpine Club for 51 years, and, like his father before him, a member of the Alpine Club of Canada for more than 25 years. Woody rarely missed a major reunion at either of his beloved schools.

Woody's happiest days were at his beloved Belvedere home overlooking San Francisco Bay, often with dinner guests at his table and his dog at his feet. The perfect host, he would stand, start to introduce his guests, and often choke up with joy. Woody loved people and people loved him.
He is survived by his loving wife, Claire McAuliffe Kingman, their many devoted nieces, nephews, spous-es and children, all of whom mourn the sad passing of their dynamic and beloved uncle.

Woody's grandfather Joseph R. Kingman wrote:

"I feel that my life has been one of peculiar good fortune."

Woody would say the same thing.

Services are pending but will be held at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Belvedere, Calif.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the American Alpine Club in Golden, Colo.

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