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Michael Barrett Woodroofe

March 17, 1940 ~ February 22, 2022 (age 81)

Obituary

Michael Barrett Woodroofe was born in 1940 in Corvallis, Oregon, the beloved only child of Helen Barrett Woodroofe and Robin Russell Woodroofe.  He grew up in Athena, Oregon, helping on the family farm and listening to his parents quote Shakespeare to each other over the dinner table. Michael attended Stanford University on scholarship, obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics, and returned to the University of Oregon to complete his Master and Doctorate degrees in 1965.  After a year as a research associate at Stanford he began his independent research career at Carnegie Mellon before moving to the University of Michigan in 1968, where he was a professor of statistics for more than forty years. He was named the Leonard J. Savage Professor in 1994, and the Michael Woodroofe lecture series was established in 2008 in recognition of his long and distinguished career.

Michael married Frances Smock in 1974, and they raised three children together. He loved cheering his children on at their extracurricular activities, family camping trips, listening to the Tigers on the radio, and spending time at the rustic family cabin up north.

Michael was an adventurous person with a wide array of interests. Along the way, he was mugged in a bar in South America, played on his young adult son’s championship hockey team into his 70s, joined his son in law for flying lessons and driving a Corvette around the Laguna Seca racetrack, and informed his daughter he preferred to bike to and from wineries because he was unlikely to be pulled over for biking under the influence. He was the first on the block to buy an Apple II computer in the early 1980s, and he and his oldest son spent hours taking it apart and putting it back together again. He loved watching and playing sports, liked reading enormous history books, preferred biking to driving, and enjoyed traveling to visit family, friends and associates in faraway places.  He derived great joy from life’s simple pleasures.  His family was deeply important to him.  Although he lost a few steps toward the end of his life, he never lost his independent spirit or his sense of humor.

Michael died in Palm Bay, Florida a few weeks shy of his 82nd birthday.  He is survived by Fran, his wife of 47 years; his children Russ, Carolyn (Don) and Blake (Aris); three grandchildren, and more than 40 former graduate students. 
 He was presumably welcomed on the other side of the rainbow bridge by his parents, grandparents, and a number of wagging tails. 

Rest in peace, Dad.  We were lucky to have you.

A graveside service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 8, 2022 at the Athena Cemetery. 

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Services

Graveside Service
Tuesday
March 8, 2022

11:00 AM
Athena Cemetery

Athena, OR 97813

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