Stoddard was born in Perry, in Union County, Oregon, in 1917. His family moved east in 1928, living in Eastchester, New York. Stoddard earned a bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University, an MBA from Harvard Business School, and a law degree from Fordham University.
He worked for 34 years at the Equitable Life Assurance Society before joining W. P. Carey & Co. in 1979. At W. P. Carey, Stoddard chaired the independent investment committee, personally reviewing ever deal raised by the firms' acquisition team. "If he didn't approve of a deal, it wouldn't get done," William Polk Carey, the firm's chairman, is reported to have said.
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