Stanley Reginald John Woodell was born in Shepherds Bush, London. He obtained a degree in Botany from Durham University and also studied the pollination biology of the genus Primula for his PhD at the same university. He was a University Lecturer in Botany at Oxford University (1959–88). At Wolfson College, Oxford, he was successively a Governing Body Fellow (1967–88), Supernumerary Fellow (1988–89) and Emeritus Fellow (1989–2004). From 1984 to 2004 he was also the Fellow Librarian of the College.
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