Housing advocate dies at 87

Burton Wood, the longtime advocate and fixture of Washington’s housing industry, passed away Sunday at the age of 87.

Wood worked for the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) for more than three decades in government relations and as a frequent adviser to bankers preparing for Capitol Hill testimony.

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John Courson, president and CEO of the association, first met Wood in 1977. “He was passionate about the issues, but with wit. I never saw him confrontational,” Courson said.

In recent years, Wood would come to the office virtually every day and was a “sage adviser” to the group.

Born in 1923, Wood served in the U.S. military as part of the post-war occupation force in Japan. A few years after graduating from Harvard Law School in 1950, Wood made his way to Washington, where he served as a staffer on Capitol Hill and then worked with the National Association of Home Builders. Wood worked as director of congressional affairs at the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) before joining the mortgage bankers group.

“He was really part of our family,” Courson said. “To this day, I’d go up to testify and staff members would come down to shake Burton’s hand ... He was a true icon among industry activists.”