Remembering Barbara Reid Dudman ’60

Barbara was an exceptional person and the widow of Jack Dudman ’42 [mathematics 1953–85], the highly respected dean of students at Reed for many years. From the very beginning at Reed, she was a disciplined student. One of her freshman roommates recalled that she would stack several books on the floor next to her chair and then read nonstop until she had finished the weekly humanities assignment. She would arrive at the freshman chemistry lab on Saturday mornings so well prepared that she was always one of the first to leave.

Barbara seemed always composed and dignified, and her distinctive bearing was noticeable even at a distance. But there was a delightful schoolgirl side to her as well, and she was quick to add her warm voice and gentle laughter to a conversation. She was in many ways a reserved and private person, yet she was sentimental and romantic as well and would share fond childhood memories. Her many virtues appealed to all who knew her, students and teachers alike. Fifty years after graduating, in all of these respects, she seemed to me unchanged.

Later in life, Barbara scarcely mentioned her several years as a math instructor, leaving the impression that she had happily devoted her life primarily to her son and husband. Jack was twice as old as Barbara when they married, but marriages between male professors and female students were not uncommon at Reed in that era. In any event, Jack and Barbara seemed made for one another from beginning to end.

Nearly a year after Jack’s death [in 2008], Barbara wrote, reassuringly, “As for me, I am doing okay. Of course, I miss Jack very much all the time. He died in July and our 50th anniversary was in December, so that’s to be expected . . . Our son Joe lives with me, so I have company and some brawn available when I need it.”

Now, two years later, Barbara herself is gone, yet she seems as young and as vivid as ever in my memory. It was comforting to find, in the same issue of Reed that told of her death [June 2011], a beautiful example of Lloyd Reynolds’s work.

Dew evaporates
and all our world is dew
so dear
so fresh
so fleeting

Richard Morgan ’60

Berkeley, California