William Conrad Goodman was born on September 5th, 1915 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was the second of five children born to William Oscar Goodman and Lela Vivian Frances (Madland) Goodman. All of his siblings were sisters – Lillian, Rosemary, Winona, and Patricia - and all preceded him in death. Lillian died at the age of 12 and that was a profound memory for him. Bill grew up in Minneapolis and graduated from Central High School. He was an outstanding student and loved sports, but his favorite high school memory was being in the school play, "Skidding," and "stealing the show" in a minor role as Andy.
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During the Great Depression, the Goodman family moved west to Oakland, California to find work. While it was Bill's dream to go to college and study literature, he went to work instead to help the family. At age 19, he began working as a night janitor at Anglo Bank in Oakland and quickly became a teller and then a consumer loan officer. It was at Anglo Bank that Bill met Dorothy Van Dorn. They married on February 22nd, 1941 and had three children – Sheryl, Dale and Kirk – all born in Oakland. Throughout their years in Oakland, the entire family was deeply involved in the life and ministry of Grace Methodist Church - the "centerpiece" of their life as a family.
During World War II, Bill served in the United States Coast Guard and, at the time, was on the longest single voyage in U.S. history – from to the Philippines, to Guam, to Japan to Hawaii. Bill never did attend college, but, after the war, did something that would seem nearly impossible today - without a college education. He rose to the position of Assistant Vice President at Crocker National Bank and oversaw "the computerization" of consumer loan departments in nearly 400 branches when computers were in their infancy. He offered the name for the main-frame computer, "MAC," and the city-block sized building that housed it, "The MAC Center." After 41 years with the bank, Bill retired in 1975 at the age of 60.
Bill and Dorothy spent their first 10 years in retirement in their mountain home in Pioneer, California and then they moved to Stockton. They were faithful members of the faith community of Holy Cross United Methodist Church in Stockton. At the time of Dorothy's death in 2005, they had been married for 64 years.
Peace and justice were very strong themes in his life. He was active in the civil rights movement, spoke out against the Vietnam War (and all war), defended gay rights (beginning decades ago), was "a champion of the poor," and had an incredible record of getting his letters to the editor published – protesting all manner of injustices.
Despite not realizing his dream of going to college, Bill never lost his love of literature – especially poetry – and especially Robert Frost. He had countless poems committed to memory. He was an incessant reader and forever "a student." He also followed sports – all sports – with a passion, but his first love was the University of California Golden Bears football. (His boys were especially grateful for the opportunity to go to hundreds of sporting events and for Bill introducing them to the sport of ice hockey.)
Bill was proud of his Norwegian heritage – and especially proud that he was a direct descendant of Thormod Madland – one of 52 people on the first emigrant ship (Restaurasjonen) from Norway to the United States in 1825.
Bill died on Veteran's Day, November 11th, 2013 at the age of 98 – the 70th anniversary of the day he enlisted in the service for World War II . He is survived by his children: Sheryl (Vito) Fabrizio of Lodi, Dale (Susan) Goodman of Decorah, Iowa, and Kirk (Roberta) Goodman of Stockton; six grandchildren: Noelle Fabrizio, Jason (Crista) Fabrizio, Heather (Marcus) Sanders, Courtney(Joshua) Marone, Corey Goodman, Peder Johan Goodman; seven great-grandchildren: Gianna, Trevor, Davin, Saville, Fredrica, Ethan and Emerson, many nieces and nephews – and a special "son" (1966 exchange student), Mathee Valeton (Liesbeth Sjoukes) of the Netherlands.
A memorial service will be held at 10:30AM on Saturday, January 4th, 2014 at Holy Cross United Methodist Church - 1200 West Hammer Lane, Stockton, CA. 95209. (A private inurnment service was held for family.) Memorial gifts can be directed to "The Ministries of Holy Cross United Methodist Church" to the church address.
Published in Lodi News-Sentinel from Nov. 19 to Nov. 26, 2013