Harry G. Woodbury, Jr.

  • Brigadier General
  • WW II


Harry George “Woody” Woodbury, Jr. was born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1916. Woody graduated from East Providence High School in 1934. He graduated number one in the class of 1938 at Rhode Island State College. Woody was a member of the Varsity Debate Team and Chairman of the University Social Committee. He was a member and President of the Phi Mu Delta Fraternity. He participated in the Army ROTC program for four years and served as the Cadet Colonel in his senior year. He received a direct commission from President Roosevelt to serve as Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

He also graduated number one in his class at M.I.T. where he received his Master of Science Degree in Civil Engineering. His Academic Honors included Phi Kappa Phi and Tau Beta Pi at URI, Sigma Xi at MIT and Merit Award from the Armed Forces Management Association.

His first military experience came in Panama hacking out roads through the jungle to anti-aircraft positions. Then he served as assistant engineer in the construction of the Rio Hato Air Base. During World War II, he served in the South Pacific. During that period, he received the Silver Star for Conspicuous Gallantry in Action and the Legion of Merit for his service. While in the Pacific Theater, he rose to the rank of full Colonel. At the age of 28 years old, he was the youngest Colonel in the United States Army.

He also received the Commendation Ribbon and Distinguished Service Medal. During his 30-year career, he served as the Engineer of US forces in Austria and Italy; G-4 US Forces in Okinawa, Japan; District Engineer in Omaha Nebraska; Engineer, UN Forces, Korea. It was during this period that he received his promotion to Brigadier General. His last assignment before retiring from the military was that of Director of Civil Works in the Chief Engineers Office in Washington, DC. He also served as the Engineering Agent for the Atlantic-Pacific Interoceanic Canal Study Commission.

BG Woodbury retired from the US Army in 1968 and was awarded the Army Distinguished Service Medal for exceptionally meritorious and distinguished service to our nation. In 1968, the University of Rhode Island awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Law Degree. At the same commencement, his oldest daughter Martha Cruciani received her Master of Science Degree in School Psychology.

“Woody” then was employed by Consolidated Edison Company of New York as Vice President of Construction. During his six years at Consolidated Edison Company, he became Executive Vice President of Environmental Affairs. General Woodbury retired to Little Compton in 1974, where he donated his time and expertise to the town serving on a number of different committees.
He was also very active in St. Andrew’s by the Sea Church. Between l975 and 1986, accompanied by his wife, he was a Volunteer Executive with International Executive Service Corps. His various projects were in Liberia, Chile, Nassau, Indonesia, Egypt and the Dominican Republic.

Brigadier General Woodbury died in Little Compton, Rhode Island on 24 March 1997. He was married to Pattie P. (Phelps) Woodbury for 57 years. Brigadier General Woodbury was buried at the family plot in Francestown, New Hampshire in July 1997 with full military honors.  Brigadier General Woodbury spent his entire life serving his community and nation during peace and war. His exemplary devotion to duty, personal bravery and outstanding leadership is in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his country and the University of Rhode Island.