Walter A. Goodpastor died suddenly from complications of cardiomyopathy on Monday, January 13, 2014 at his home in The Woodlands, Texas. He was 70 years old. Walter was born February 24, 1943 in South Bend, Illinois to Wanda Lou Goodpaster and Dr. Walter J. Goodpaster. He was raised in Herrin, Illinois by his father and stepmother, Hazel Pauline Goodpaster, with his six half-siblings following his mother's death in 1945. He was married in 1964 to Patricia A. Chonko until their divorce in 2000. They had three children, Christopher, Matthew, and Sarah. They lived in Indianapolis, Indiana until 1977 when they moved to The Woodlands, Texas. Walter later married Carole Patterson Smylie in 2000. Walter received a bachelor's degree in human biology and psychology from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois in 1967 and a master's degree in psychiatric and medical social work from Indiana University, Indianapolis, Indiana in 1969 while working full time to support himself and his family. He also received a master's degree in business administration (MBA) with specialization in Healthcare Administration from our Lady of the Lake University, San Antonio, Texas in 1996 and a degree in Naturopathic Medicine from Clayton College of Natural Health in 2006. Walter's compassion for others led him to a career in psychotherapy and social work. His professional experience included various positions in university level teaching, individual and group psychotherapy, research, and management at four major universities and the US Veterans Administration. He held academic appointments at Indiana University Graduate School of Social Work, Indianapolis, Indiana; Baylor College of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Houston, Texas; University of Houston School of Social Work, Houston, Texas; and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. He published in professional and scientific journals. Walter had great love of nature and animals from an early age. He spent much of his youth on his father's ranch near a nature preserve, where he became an excellent horseman and cared for both domestic and wild animals. As a young adult, he served as a youth counselor at a YMCA camp in the mountains near Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was an early settler of The Woodlands, attracted by its commitment to the preservation of natural surroundings. He enjoyed the simple pleasures his community offered, such as spending time with his children fishing and feeding the ducks at nearby Lake Harrison. Wherever he lived, Walter derived great joy from the many hours he spent landscaping his home and community with indigenous plants.
Walter was a kind, caring man with a great intellectual curiosity about all things and a deep, enduring love for his children and his grandchildren.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Wanda L. and Walter J. Goodpaster, stepmother, Hazel P. Goodpaster, and son, Matthew Scott Goodpaster.
He is survived by his children, Christopher Goodpastor and wife, Kelly; Sarah Goodpastor and husband, Ken Rice; stepson, Eric Patterson and wife Kendra; grandchildren, Benjamin and Elenore Rice and Gunnar Patterson; partner, Carole Goodpastor; mother of his children, Patricia Goodpastor; and siblings, Roger Roland, Jackie Treccani, Janie Goodpaster, Paul Goodpaster, MaryLou Goodpaster-Jamison, Laura Whyte, and Helen Anderson. A celebration of Walter's life and a reception will be held on Saturday, February 1st from 3 - 5 PM at Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Church, 1370 North Milbend Drive, The Woodlands, Texas (northwoodsuu.org). Casual attire is suggested. Walter had a love of animals and a passion for the preservation of our natural environment. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Walter's memory to the Montgomery County Animal Shelter (www.mcaspets.org) or the animal shelter in your community; or to The Arbor Day Foundation (arborday.org).