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Benjamin Mather Woodbridge Jr. ’36

A picture of Benjamin Woodbridge Jr.

Benjamin Mather Woodbridge Jr. ’36, March 18, 2007, in Oakland, California. Benjamin arrived at Reed at the age of seven. His father, Benjamin M. Woodbridge, was professor of Romance languages at the college for 30 years [1922–52], and his mother, Marguerite, graduated from Reed in 1933 and taught French at the college in 1940–50. Benjamin Woodbridge Jr. received a BA from Reed in Romance philology, and went to Harvard for graduate work, earning an MA in 1937. His studies took him to England, France, and Belgium—from which he fled during the German invasion of 1939. In 1942, he went to Brazil, where he met Maria de Lourdes Prestes d’Albuquerque; they married in 1944, and had two children. Benjamin completed a PhD in Romance philology from Harvard in 1949. He taught in the Spanish and Portuguese department at UC Berkeley, retiring in 1982. He also taught French for the National Defense Education Act Institute’s summer program, and led a study abroad program in Portugal for CUNY. In 1960, he married Mary Sylvia Neves; they lived in Oakland for 40 years, and enjoyed traveling and backpacking in the West, and extensive travels abroad in Portugal, the Azores, and Greece. Benjamin's interests also were in theatre and in performing dramatic readings. In 1993, he wrote: “If I had to choose today between Reed and graduate school, I would opt for Reed. Its values of teaching have meant more to me than the values of research promoted by graduate schools. Ave, alma mater!” Survivors include his son and daughter; and his sister, Isabelle Woodbridge Leggett ’38. Mary Neves Woodbridge died in 2005.

Appeared in Reed magazine: August 2007

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