ROCHESTER - George Arthur Goding, 86, of Rochester, passed away January 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.
George was born in Woburn, Massachusetts, September 14, 1927, the son of Ira L. Goding Sr. and Laura May (Byron) Goding.
He graduated from Hale High School in Stow, MA, in 1945 as Salutatorian, and attended the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.
After his first semester at UMass, toward the end of World War II
, George enlisted in the Army
, serving at Camp Kilmer, NJ. 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.
On May 30, 1953, George married Mary E. Law of Springfield, Massachusetts. Having started out in Springfield, they moved to Peterborough, New Hampshire, 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 NY Giants play Chicago in the NFL Championship Game of December 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 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 more than 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, arriving in Rochester in 1969. He was active in the Rochester Bahá'í community from then on.
George worked as a design draftsman and, once in rural Vermont, accepted work with companies including Harvestore, Hawk Mountain, Wright Engineering and Vermont Castings. Through a placement service called Associated Engineers, he also took jobs out of state. 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 Rochester, where he worked for more than 20 years. 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 life of his community.
In the 1980s, George took part in several theatrical productions of the White River Valley Players, including "The Fantasticks," "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," and "The Music Man." 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 several marathons,including three in Boston and winding up with the 1984 Montreal Marathon at 59 years of age. In Rochester, he watched many games played by the Rochester Rockets, especially the Bean Pot Challenge. 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, Florida; 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, Massachusetts, and Rebecca L. Passa and husband, Thomas C. Passa, of Easthampton, Massachusetts; 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 Saturday, February 1, 2014, at Pierce Hall in Rochester at 1 p.m. In accordance with George's wishes, burial is to be at the Vermont Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Randolph Center in the spring. The family wishes to thank the citizens of the Town of Rochester for their loving support, including the sharing of memories of George as well as visits, cards, accommodations and food. 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. Online condolences may be left at www.dayfunerals.com
. Arrangements are under the direction of the Day Funeral Home, Randolph.