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Portrait of Judson S. (Pete) Woodruff

In Memoriam

Judson S. (Pete) Woodruff

May 18, 1925 ~ February 24, 1997

Obituary published in The Oklahoman, February 26, 1997

Judson S. (Pete) Woodruff, a nationally recognized authority on oil and gas law and former member of the State Highway Commission, died Monday in an Oklahoma City hospital. He was 71.

Mr. Woodruff’s lifetime pursuits took him from service in the CIA to European general manager of a major oil company to private practice in Oklahoma City. He was a former partner and at the time of his death was of counsel to McAfee & Taft. He had also been a friend of Bill W. for a little more than 20 years.

Mr. Woodruff was born May 18, 1925 in Birmingham, Ala. He was a student at the University of Oklahoma and interrupted his education to serve in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He was discharged in 1948 with the rank of Lieutenant (JG). He returned to OU and received a degree in physics in 1948 and his law degree in 1950 with Order of the Coif. He was a Sterling fellow in graduate law at Yale University in 1950-51. He then alternately worked for the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency in Washington, Tokyo and Seoul before returning to Oklahoma to serve as law clerk to U.S. District Judge Eugene Rice. In 1956, Mr. Woodruff joined Marathon Oil Co. in Tulsa. He later worked at the headquarters office in Finlay, Ohio, and his last assignment with Marathon was general manager in Geneva, where he was responsible for operations in Europe, Libya and the Middle East. He joined McAfee and Taft in 1964 and remained with them until his retirement in 1990.

His professional activities included service as an associate bar examiner, member of various state bar committees and Oklahoma editor of the Oil & Gas Reporter, Southwestern Legal Foundation. He was also a fellow of both the Oklahoma Bar Foundation and the America Bar Foundation. During the administration of Governor Dewey Bartlett, he had several responsibilities. First, he chaired the Governor’s Committee on Ad Valorem Taxation, then was a member of the Alcohol Beverage Commission, and next was highway commissioner for the district that included Oklahoma County. Mr. Woodruff has served on several civic boards, including Citizens Concerned for Children, and Westminster School as well as a deacon of Westminster Presbyterian Church. During his retirement, he tutored children who were having difficulty in school and practiced his avocation as an accomplished water color painter.

He is survived by his wife, Millie Woodruff, a daughter, Jenny Woodruff, and two step-sons, Mike Coats and Sandy Coats, all of Oklahoma City. A memorial service is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday at Westminster Presbyterian Church. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests support for Citizens Concerned for Children, Westminster Day School Foundation, American Lung Association, John W. Keyes Speech and Hearing Center or Free to Live.