Remembrance by Dick Goodyear (brother)
Jack (John Goodyear, Jr.) died on July 6, 2005 in Cherry Valley, New York, of congestive heart failure. He had lived in Cherry Valley since 1996, and most recently before that in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. He got used to moving around as a child, when his parents were in the Foreign Service. They lived in Ankara, Lisbon and Tokyo during Jack's years at Yale.
Over the years, Jack had published one newspaper and written a regular column for another. Earlier, he had been in the travel business. He taught a course in writing at SUNY Cobleskill. He became an authority on the history of the Iroquois in the Mohawk Valley. To everything he did, Jack brought a sharp eye and an even sharper wit, intelligent and wide-ranging curiosity, a gift for writing born of the pleasure he took in sharing his passions with others, the ability to take things in stride, a buoyant and infectious enthusiasm, an unquenchable sense of humor, engaging charm and a flair that was unmistakably his. These qualities never deserted him, even in his last illness, and accounted for his unusually wide and diverse circle of close friends.
Jack had seven godchildren, and his abiding passion was young people. He savored every one of their smart sayings and successes and demonstrations of the right stuff, every bit as much as he would have if they had been his smart sayings and successes and right stuff.
Jack himself was enduringly young ― open, welcoming, trusting, sort of eagerly innocent. In a way, he was a boy. He always had a boy's keen eye for possibilities. He always derived an enthusiastic and excited pleasure from the potential that every situation held for him, because he saw it as a positive potential ― as a promise.
Boyhood isn't problem-free, of course. So sometimes his keen eye for possibilities was too keen: it enabled him to see some possibilities that weren't even there. Sometimes his excitement and enthusiasm led him to bet on unpromising situations, as well as on promising ones. But he had a game and upbeat way of looking at life, and of soldiering on when even he couldn't be upbeat about this or that aspect of it. These gifts are rare, and all too few of us have them. As one who did have them, in great quantity and high quality, and freely shared them with us, Jack Goodyear set us an example worthy of emulation.