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Robert J. Goodman

Robert J. Goodman

Died: Friday, April 15, 2005
Age: 86
Grosse Pointe Woods resident Robert J. Goodman, Ph.D., 86, died on Friday, April 15, 2005, in Bon Secours Nursing Care Center in St. Clair Shores.

He was born on July, 31, 1918, to Bernard J. and Catherine Fitzpatrick Goodman in Gwinn.

He graduated from the University of Chicago with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1940 and a master’s degree in 1941. He received a Ph.D., in geography from Northwestern University in 1948.

From 1941 to 1942, he was employed as the chief of The Compilation Division of the U.S. Army Map Service in Chicago.

In 1942, he was drafted into the U.S. Army Office of Strategic Services where he worked on war-related mapping in Washington, D.C., and from 1944 to 1945 in Europe, mostly in France. In 1945, he was honorably discharged with the rank of technical sergeant with an American Theater Service Medal, a European, African, Middle Eastern Service Medal, and a World War II Victory Medal.

In 1948, he began teaching at Wayne (State) University where he continued teaching until his retirement in 1983. He gained a reputation for excellence in teaching through the use of visual materials, such as slides and movies, most of which he produced. Some of his movies, such as “Growth Patterns of Detroit,” were widely used in introductory geography classes throughout Michigan. He was a lifetime member of the Association of American Geographers.

In 1961, he received a Fulbright Award which took him to India where he helped establish a geography department at the University of New Delhi. In 1979, he was awarded a Wayne State Excellence in Teaching Award, and in October 1983, he received a Distinguished Teaching Award for Outstanding Teaching from the National Council for Geographic Education. In March 1994, the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters awarded him a Michigan Academy Centennial Award.

He was very dedicated to his students and, in return, his students affectionately called him “Doc.” He and his wife, Marge, who also had a Ph.D. in geography, often hosted in their home students who worked on a variety of cartographic projects in their basement. He frequently organized field work and field trips for both his students and the general public.

In addition to his academic pursuits, he had a wide range of interests. He traveled extensively, and had a great love of music and for the theater. He sang with several groups, including the Society for the Preservation of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America and a Grosse Pointe choral group. He was a supporter of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and a patron of the Bonstelle, Hilberry, and Studio theatres of Wayne State University. He was active for many years with the Grosse Pointe Cinema League.

His love of gardening was seen at its best in the gardens around his cottage at Little Lake. While there, he would regularly enter his 1929 Model A Ford sedan in exhibits sponsored by the Michigan Iron Industry Museum in Negaunee.

Dr. Goodman was a regular contributor to environmental preservation, humanitarian causes and was a lifelong supporter of the Democratic Party.

He is survived by his nieces in Dexter, Palisades, N.Y., and Marion, Ohio; and his nephews in Kalamazoo, Durango, Colo., and Annadale, Va.

He was predeceased by his wife, Marjorie.

A memorial service was held on Wednesday, April 20, at Chas. Verheyden Inc.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Bon Secours Nursing Care Center, 26001 East Jefferson, St. Clair Shores, MI 48081 or to the Hospices of Henry Ford, Henry Ford Health System, 23000 Mack, Suite 500, St. Clair Shores, MI 48080.
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