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Joseph Magnus Goodman (1918 - 2014)

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Goodman, Joseph Magnus

Joseph Magnus Goodman - November 28, 1918- August 12, 2014

Joseph Magnus Goodman died at home on Tuesday morning, August 12, 2014. He was surrounded by his children and grandchildren in his last hours.

Joseph Goodman is survived by his three children, Meredith Downey, Alison Bergman (Robert), Christopher P. Goodman (Tanya), and his six grandchildren David (Deepa), Betsie and Daniel (Lori Ann) Bergman, Matthew and Megan Downey, Christopher L. Goodman, and his great-grandson Nathaniel Bergman. Joseph was born in New York City on November 28, 1918. He was the beloved son of the late Solomon Goodman and Bella Magnus Goodman.

Mr. Goodman graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1938 with a degree in European history. He started his doctoral studies in music history at Yale University and received a Masters degree in Music Composition from Harvard University in 1948. Mr. Goodman was a highly educated man who spoke, read and taught seven languages.

As a devout and principled man, Mr. Goodman was abjectly against killing anyone, and so became a conscientious objector during World War II. He volunteered his services as an ambulance driver for the British, French and Canadian Armed Forces Ambulance Corps during the early years of the war in France. He then volunteered with the American Friends Service Committee in Mexico. During his five years working with them, Mr. Goodman built schools, roads and churches in destitute parts of Mexico. He also spent years teaching local children and adults, as well as playing piano recitals in the local communities and churches.

After the war, Mr. Goodman was the recipient of one of the first Fulbright Grants in 1949. His grant was to study music composition with renowned musicians and composers in Venice, Italy.

On returning to America in 1951, Mr. Goodman embarked on a career as a Professor of music history and music composition. He taught at Brooklyn College of Music, Queens College and New York General Theological College as well as Union Theological College in New York City. Mr. Goodman was a talented pianist, who had a solo concert career that took him all over the country for many years. He taught music history and music composition to hundreds of students throughout his career, but his true passion was composing and he focused his composing on writing music to the glory of God.

Mr. Goodman had been encouraged by both his parents to give back to others and to those in need of help. His mother Bella, was a talented musician in her own right who played at nursing homes and hospitals, worked with the blind and the disabled, while his father, Solomon, was a factory owner who bankrupted his business to pay the way to freedom from the Nazis for his family and the families of his factory workers. From the start of his solo concert career in his late teens, Mr. Goodman has been following in his parents' footsteps to give back to others in need. Mr. Goodman has been sharing his time and talent by giving recitals in every community he has lived and served in.

In 1969 when Mr. Goodman moved his family to Pleasantville, NY, he realized the dearth of available classical music in the local communities and began giving piano recitals at St Johns Episcopal Church, where he was a member. His personal commitment to bringing music to the local community morphed into the Pleasantville Chamber Music Society in 1976. Mr. Goodman spent the next 35 years bringing top Chamber music musicians and their talents to the Westchester area.

In other quiet ways, Mr. Goodman has given tirelessly of himself to his community, his fellowman and the world around him. Mr. Goodman visited the sick and injured, drove his friends and neighbors to doctors appointments when needed, visited Rosary Hill Hospice for years, played piano concerts for the seniors in surrounding hospitals and senior facilities, often with grandchildren in tow to turn pages for him. From dropping in to chat with local widows, and house bound neighbors, Mr. Goodman was a constant in the lives of those in his community.

A devout Episcopalian, Mr. Goodman lent his experience and talents to serving on the vestry for many years at St. John's Episcopal Church in Pleasantville and Trinity Episcopal Church in Ossining, NY.

Mr. Goodman retired from teaching in 1982, and spent the remaining years of his life dedicated to spreading Classical music to everyone, helping his church, visiting with those in need, and spreading the word of God through music.

A talented and devoutly religious man, Joseph Goodman cared deeply for others, but most especially for his wife, Constance. On December 8, 1951, Mr. Goodman met the love of his life. From that first meeting in the pew at St. Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church in New York City, until they were parted by death, 61 years later, Joseph was devoted to his beloved Constance. Together they shared a life full of love, music, art, gardening, travel and faith. For those left behind, we can rest happy knowing that Joseph is now joined in eternity with the love of his life, having lived a long productive life to the glory of God, sharing the talents he was given by the grace of God, and walking a path in Jesus name. God Speed Joseph, the heavenly choirs need some new music!

The family will receive friends Thursday 3 - 5 PM and 7 - 9 PM at the Beecher Flooks Funeral Home. A Funeral Service will be held at 10:30 AM on Friday at the Pleasantville Presbyterian Church, 400 Bedford Road, Pleasantville. Interment will take place at 1:30 PM at Kensico Cemetery.

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Funeral Home
Beecher Flooks Funeral Home
418 Bedford Rd Pleasantville, NY 10570
(914) 769-0001
Published in the The Journal News on Aug. 14, 2014
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