Sam Goddard

  • "Dear Goddard Family, I remember how much my..."
    - Rene Stover
  • "We could use more politicians like Mr. Goddard. I am sorry..."
    - Frank Zimmerman
  • "To my dear "Tennis-Friend", Myra Ann: my thoughts and..."
    - Sheri Patterson
  • "My condolences to the family of Gov. Sam Goddard. He was a..."
    - Ralph Alden

Sam Goddard Sam Goddard - lawyer, soldier, businessman, pilot, musician, gardener, artist and Arizona's 12th Governor - died February 1, 2006. He was born in Clayton, MO., on August 8, 1919. His father and uncle ran the Goddard Grocery Company, a wholesale grocer covering the state of Missouri. Sam graduated from Harvard College in 1941, majoring in classical history. Within a few weeks of rowing his last race for the Harvard Varsity Crew, Sam enlisted in the Army Air Corps. A radio communications officer, he was first stationed at the New Castle Air Base. One of his first commanding officers was then Major Barry Goldwater. From New Castle, he flew with convoys of fighter planes to Britain before being stationed in Casablanca, where he coordinated flights into Burma. He served the last months of the war in the South Pacific. Sam remained active in the Air Force Reserve and retired as a Colonel. Sam and Judy Hatch were married "on a three day pass" July 1, 1944, just before Sam shipped out to Guam. While Sam was overseas, Judy moved to Tucson seeking a warm climate to ease the pain of arthritis. Sam joined her there in 1945. Their three sons - Terry, Tim and Bill - were born in Tucson. Sam graduated from the UA Law School in 1949 in a class that included former U.S. Rep. Mo Udall and former Gov. Raul Castro. Soon after graduation, Sam was elected president of the Tucson Festival Society and sang the lead in several Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. Sam was active with the Tucson United Way, serving as campaign chairman in 1959, the first year the campaign achieved its goal. That same year, he was named Tucson Man of the Year. In the late 1950s, he formed a law firm with Frank Barry. Sam also partnered with Clayton Niles to form Niles Radio and Television. The company branched out from consumer electronics into the new field of pagers and two-way radios. With broadcast antennas in remote parts of Arizona, Sam and Clayton became pilots to better service the facilities. Through a series of mergers, the little Tucson radio store became Communications Industries of Dallas. In 1960, Sam was elected Democratic Party State Chairman. Two years later, he ran for Governor. A political neophyte, he lost the election but his campaign symbol, a fast-moving roadrunner (before the era of Beep Beep and Wile E. Coyote), became so well-known that some people still tell about their child seeing a roadrunner and shouting, "There goes a Goddard!" In 1964, Sam won a hard-fought campaign for Governor against Richard Kleindienst, who later became U.S. Attorney General. In his first year as Governor, Sam established the first budget office in state history and signed Arizona's first civil rights bill into law. He set up new state commissions, including the Arizona Commission on Arts and Humanities, the Governor's Commission on the Status of Women, the Advisory Council on Aging, the Governor's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped, and the Governor's Commission on Arizona Beauty. He testified before Congress for the Central Arizona Project and worked with neighboring governors to gain CAP passage. In 1972, Sam was elected Democratic National Committeeman and went on to become Democratic State Chairman, an office he held until 1990. He served on the Democratic National Committee for over 20 years and was a delegate to virtually every Democratic national convention from 1964 to 1992. In addition, he served on the national board of the United Funds and Councils of America. He led a UFCA tour of USO operations around the world to improve conditions for military dependents overseas. Sam was elected a director of the Harvard Alumni Association and appointed to the Board of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco. He was elected to the Central Arizona Water Conservation District Board and served 12 years. Converts to the desert, Sam and Judy were passionate about Arizona's open spaces. They explored many of the most inaccessible parts of the State, jeep camping in the early days and later with a trailer. Sam's lifelong interest in desert gardening brought bountiful harvests and incredible flowers. Fifty-five years of marriage ended when Judy passed away in 1999. Sam then married Myra Ann Pearson of Paradise Valley. Sam Goddard loved the wild vastness of Arizona and tried to experience every inch. He never saw a dirt track he didn't want to explore or a person in need he didn't stop to help. A master storyteller and a lover of learning, he shared his passion for Arizona history throughout his life. Public memorial services will be held at 3:00 p.m. Friday, February 17, at the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix and at 3:00 p.m. Saturday, February 18, at the Unitarian Church at 4831 E. 22nd St., Tucson. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the ASU Foundation for the Sam Goddard History Project, ASU Dept. of History, PO Box 874302, Tempe, AZ 85287-4302, or Libraries, Ltd., PO Box 57013, Tucson, AZ 85732.
Published in the Arizona Daily Star on Feb. 5, 2006
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