ROCHESTER, Vt. – George Arthur Goding, 86, of Rochester, passed away Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014. Although his sudden passing has taken our breath away, yet if he had to leave this life, George always said he preferred a quick and decisive curtain call.
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George was born Sept. 14, 1927, in Woburn, Mass., the son of Ira L. Goding, Sr., and Laura May (Byron) Goding.
He graduated from Hale High School in Stow, in 1945, as salutatorian and attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst. After his first semester at UMass, toward the end of World War II, George enlisted in the Army, serving at Camp Kilmer, N.J. He was later called to serve in Korea, further interrupting his studies in chemical engineering at UMass, which he did not manage to complete before his educational benefits under the G.I. Bill ran out. At UMass, George participated in cross-country running as well as track, and was captain of his team when winning the 1952 Yankee Conference Cross Country Championship. Earlier, in 1950, he finished 25th in the Boston Marathon and earned the final medal awarded that year.
May 30, 1953, George married Mary E. Law of Springfield, Mass. Having started out in Springfield, they moved to Peterborough, N.H., in 1963 where, in December, George saw the newspaper announcement of a meeting to be held at the Unitarian Church. Foregoing the chance to watch the New York Giants play Chicago in the NFL Championship Game of Dec. 29, 1963, George attended the meeting which was to feature the New Hampshire president of the NAACP. There, he was struck by the questions posed of both the president and his wife by a woman in the audience. Upon becoming acquainted with the woman, Polly Marlowe, he learned of the Bahá'í Faith and its principles including the equality of women and men, and "unity in diversity". Just over five weeks later, he declared his faith in the young religion. Within a few years, George answered a Bahá'í call for pioneers and moved to Vermont. He remained active in the Bahá'í community from that time on.
George worked as a design draftsman, first taking a job with the Van Norman Machine Tool Company in Springfield. After his move to Vermont, he accepted work with companies including Wright Engineering and Vermont Castings and, through Associated Engineers of Agawam, Mass., he also took on work requiring some travel. Finally, as the computer age took hold, he left design work and accepted the position of house manager at the Park House, a senior residence in his home town of Rochester, where he worked for more than 20 years. Also during this time, he traveled to Massachusetts from time to time to help out with odd jobs at Moss Nutrition Products of Hadley. Through his work at the Park House and later with Sunshine Valley Organic Berry Farm and Vermont Associates, who placed him with the local forestry office as well as the public and school libraries, George became more involved in the community life of the small town he had adopted.
In the 1980's George took part in several productions of a local theater group known as the White River Valley Players. At the Park House, George found much enjoyment in assisting residents, engaging them in conversation and including them in one of his favorite hobbies, jigsaw puzzles. He had an avid interest in sports of all kinds and as a runner, took part in 10 marathons overall, including three in Boston and winding up with the 1984 Montreal Marathon at 59 years of age. He was a fan of the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots, and followed football, baseball and a variety of other sporting events.
George is survived by his wife Mary L. Goding of Rochester; brother Ira L. Goding, Jr., of St. Petersburg, Fla.; and step-sister Beverly Alsen also of St. Petersburg; son Philip F. Goding and wife Cheniece Brown Goding of Montpelier; daughters Joanne M. Goding and husband Jeffrey H. Moss of Hadley, Mass., and Rebecca L. Passa and husband Thomas C. Passa of Easthampton, Mass.; and eight grandchildren, Tristan Rich-Goding, Mischa Spittle, Arianna Rich, Jennie Moss, Lee Steventon, and Max, Séamus and Iain Passa; and many nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his brother Albert Goding and his sisters Josephine Vail, Marion King and Laura Martin.
George's life will be celebrated on two occasions Saturday, Feb. 1, at Pierce Hall in Rochester; and Sunday, Feb. 9, at 2 p.m at the Hadley Farms Meeting House in Hadley, Mass. In accordance with George's wishes, burial is to be at the Vermont Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Randolph Center, in the spring.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in George's memory to Pierce Hall Community Center, Inc., P.O. Box 36, Rochester, VT 05767.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Day Funeral Home, Randolph, VT.
To sign a Guest Book, express condolences, share memories and read other obituaries, go to www.gazettenet.com/obituaries.
Day Funeral Home Inc
4 Franklin St
Randolph, VT 05060
Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on Jan. 25, 2014