Born on Nov. 26, 1947 in Washington, D.C., Woody Brittain was the son of Mary D. and Willard W. Brittain Sr. Woody spent his Arlington childhood excelling in school, playing sports, attending Mount Olive Church and working on cars and other hobbies. After graduating from Wakefield High School, he went on to earn a B.A. in economics at Yale University in 1970, where he was one of 28 Black students in a class of 1,000. Woody became a campus leader, helping to establish the Black Student Alliance and Afro-American Cultural Center. In 1972, he received his MBA at Harvard’s School of Business.
Woody rose rapidly through the ranks of the corporate world in Washington, D.C. and New York City. In 1983, he became the second African-American partner in the 122-year history of Price Waterhouse. He assumed leadership of the D.C. office and was elevated to that firm’s board of directors. In 1994, Woody was appointed chief operating officer and moved to the international headquarters in New York. In that capacity, he directed the historic merger of Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand. His reputation for strategic thinking led to directorships at five Fortune 500 companies.
Woody generously supported charities that enhance educational opportunity and civil rights. A lifelong volunteer, he mentored dozens of young people while serving on the boards of the National Urban League, the Northern Virginia Urban League and the YMCA of New York City, among others. At Yale, Woody established the ORD Leadership Program and the Brittain-Palmer Fund of the Afro-American Cultural Center. Yale University bestowed its highest alumni honor, The Yale Medal, on Woody in November of 2011.
Upon retirement from PricewaterhouseCoopers, Woody founded professional services firm PREOD, made time for golf and tennis and remained active in fraternal and charitable organizations.
He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Deborah Carpenter Brittain; his daughter, Lindsey Elwin Brittain; his sister, Barbara Brittain; and many extended family members.
Woody was a man of God who never wavered in his faith or commitment to the well-being of others.
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