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AGS Mourns Death of Former Leader Al Woodill

Aug 22, 2021 9:50 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... Alfred L. Woodill, a former executive director of the American Gem Society (AGS), died on August 17 at the age of 101.

Known to his friends as “Big Al” or “Mr. AGS,” Woodill served in the position from 1947 to 1987, the organization said in a statement Thursday.

“We are all heartbroken at the loss of this great man, who was so instrumental in shaping the American Gem Society,” said Katherine Bodoh, CEO of the AGS and AGS Laboratories.

Woodill, born in California, was related by marriage to the famous Robert M. Shipley, founder of both the AGS and the Gemological Institute of America (GIA): He was a nephew of Shipley’s wife, Beatrice. Woodill worked for the Shipleys while in high school and later while he was at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he obtained a bachelor of science degree in business in 1946. While at UCLA, he took time off to serve as a bomber pilot in World War II, eventually becoming a captain in the US Army Air Corps.

Woodill often accompanied Shipley on trips to sell GIA courses and promote the AGS. He knew shorthand, so Shipley would dictate articles to him during long car journeys. In 1947, he succeeded Shipley at the helm of the AGS, leading it through the expansion of its membership and services.

“Mr. Woodill was a direct link for many of us to Robert M. Shipley himself,” Bodoh added. “But beyond that connection, the legacy he left on our community is immeasurable.”

Woodill retired in 1987, but he remained an “AGS ambassador” and made a point of calling each new president to welcome them to the role and give advice, the society said. He picked up several prestigious awards over the years. In 2017, he attended his final AGS Conclave show in Hollywood, California, where he received a standing ovation from the audience.

Image: Alfred L. Woodill. (AGS)
Tags: AGS, AGS Laboratories, Al Woodill, American Gem Society, Gemological Institute of America, GIA, Katherine Bodoh, Rapaport News, Robert M. Shipley, Robert Shipley
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