Corinne Goldgar

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Goldgar, Corinne Hartman

Goldgar, Corinne Hartman

Corinne Hartman Goldgar died at Appleton Medical Center on the morning of Sunday, December 23, 2012, at the age of 84. A committed civic activist, she was known to many in the Appleton community.

She was born on June 14, 1928, as Corinne Cohn Hartman, the younger daughter of Arnold Hartman and the former Mabel Carolyn Cohn in Nashville, Tennessee. Her sister Charlotte, whom she loved dearly, was three years older. They were descended from several old Nashville Jewish families.

Corinne attended Hillsboro High School in Nashville, where she was already known as an accomplished writer, as well as a beauty and a "swell girl." She was a loyal member of the Girl Scouts and served as a counselor at a Girl Scout camp in her teens. From the fall of 1946 she attended Vanderbilt University, from which she graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1950 with an English major and French minor. Her college days were important to her and the literary education she received there remained a staple of her wit and conversation from then on. She often said she had memorized more bad poetry than anyone else in the world.

On April 6, 1950, immediately after finishing college, Corinne married Bertrand Alvin Goldgar of Macon, Georgia, whom she had met at Vanderbilt. He was at that time teaching at Clemson College (now University) in Clemson, South Carolina, where they lived from 1950-52, and where she worked as assistant to the circulation librarian at the Clemson library from 1951-52. The Korean War intervened, and she moved to Petersburg, Virginia, near where Bert was stationed from 1952-54, and in these years she taught English, French, and algebra in the Prince George County, Virginia, public high school.

After the Korean War, Bert and Corinne moved to Princeton, New Jersey, where Bert pursued a PhD in English at Princeton University and Corinne worked as senior assistant in the acquisitions department of the Princeton University library from 1954-56.

In 1957, her son, Ben, was born; her daughter, Anne, followed in 1959.

In the autumn of 1957 the family moved to Appleton, where Bert joined the faculty of the English department at Lawrence University. Lawrence was chosen rather than some other possibilities because Corinne felt (and continued to feel) that Appleton would be a good place to live and to raise children. Alongside taking care of her family, and despite her being a transplanted southerner, she rapidly became deeply involved in the community life of the Fox Cities.

In 1958 she joined the League of Women Voters, an organization which became central to her identity and interests. She found intellectual excitement and companionship in her League activities, as well as feeling a sense of civic duty in understanding and contributing to local political life. She served as president of the Appleton chapter of the League of Women Voters in 1971-2, and she was actively involved in many League committees and publications, such as "Public Education in Appleton" (1969), which she wrote and edited, and successive editions of "This is Appleton," the 1966 version of which she also wrote and edited. She inspired many younger members of the League, and in 2003 she was named Outstanding League Member by the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin. On Sept. 21, 2007, she was honored by the League of Women Voters of the United States for over 50 years of service and made an honorary life member.

Her interest in local politics and public service and presidency of the League caused to her be named to the Appleton Mayor's Committee on Urban Transportation Service in 1972 and to the Appleton Transit Commission in 1973. In 1971 she was also appointed by Governor Patrick Lucey to the Governor's Committee on Urban Mass Transportation, on which she served in 1972-73.

This public service in the area of public transportation led to her returning to paid employment in 1974 and to a highly successful career in mass transit administration. From 1974-77 she was employed by the City of Appleton as Executive Assistant to the Appleton Transit Commission. After Appleton bought the local private bus system, which was then renamed Valley Transit, she served as Valley Transit's Coordinator of Grants and Information from 1978-83 and its Marketing Coordinator from 1984 until her retirement in January 1997.

In this position she saw Valley Transit flourish and celebrated happily the milestones in its development, such as the purchasing of new buses, the expansion of routes to other parts of the Fox Valley, and the opening of the Appleton Transit Center. Her marketing campaigns, school visits, and press appearances (which led her to being known as "the bus lady" to many local residents) occupied her energies in what she has described as "a fulfilling, rewarding career." She became proficient at desktop publishing and design and in the late 1980s and early 1990s won for five years straight the Graphics Competition of the professional transit magazine Bus Ride, in their transit system route map category; she also featured a number of times in articles in this and other publications in the field. Corinne was also a member of the Wisconsin Urban Transit Association (WUTA) from 1978-97 and served on its board of directors from 1981-83. She wrote, edited, and designed WUTA's newsletter, WUTA Express, from 1996 until 2001, well after her retirement.

On May 20, 2003 she was cited by the Senate of the State of Wisconsin in appreciation of "her dedication and commitment to public transit in the Fox Cities and the State of Wisconsin" and for "her time, effort, and innovative ideas" and "distinguished and loyal service."

Corinne was a member of Women in Management from 1978-97 and served as president of the Fox Cities chapter in 1988-89. She ran for school board in 1976, but missed being elected by 200 votes; she was also active in helping other candidates for public office and was a lifelong Democrat. Since her retirement in 1997, she acted as a volunteer tutor for the Fox Valley Literacy Coalition and volunteered for the Red Cross, where she worked with data concerning charitable contributions. She continued to work in desktop publishing for some years after she retired.

In the midst of her political and civic involvement, Corinne spent three academic years (1966-67, 1970-71, and 1973-74) living in London with her family. Bert also spent most summers after 1968 doing research in London, and Corinne would usually go over for several weeks to spend time with him in London and to travel with him around Britain and Europe.

Corinne was a complex person, full of gaiety and fun, but also with a strict moral code which she instilled in her children. She had strong opinions which she did not hesitate to express, but she also was sensitive to the feelings of others. Corinne had a love of learning and was fascinated by the world around her; she kept reading and following politics with an eagle eye until only a week before she died. She loved the English language and was skilled at playing with it, something which delighted her family.

Her husband Bert adored her and she him, and life was never the same for her after he died in 2009. She was immensely proud of her children and grandchildren and was a loving, inspiring, and highly entertaining mother. Bert could not stop quoting her bons mots and they will be repeated in her children's families for many years to come.

Corinne was predeceased by her husband Bert; her parents; her sister Charlotte Hartman Frankel; and her brother-in-law Eliot Frankel.She is survived by her son Ben and Ben's wife, Marci, both of Chicago, and their two daughters; and by her daughter Anne and Anne's partner Justin Elliott, both of London.

There will be a celebration of Corinne's life at 3 pm on Friday, January 4, 2013, at Brettschneider-Trettin-Nickel Funeral Home, 606 N. Oneida St., Appleton. All are welcome. In lieu of flowers, the family would be grateful for contributions in her honor to two of her favorite charities, the St. Joseph Food Program in Menasha and the Emergency Shelter of the Fox Valley.

Corinne's family would like to thank the staff of the ThedaCare hospice program, of the ThedaCare Hospice Residence, and of the 8th floor at Appleton Medical Center, as well as Dr. Jack Anderson and Dr. Norma Turk, for their kind and sensitive care.

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Published in Appleton Post-Crescent from Dec. 26 to Dec. 30, 2012
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