Charles Goodman

Obituary of Charles Goodman

Charles S. Goodman, born in Los Angeles, CA, on December 14, 1937, passed away in his sleep on September 16, 2017, from complications following heart surgery. His wife Karen was at his side as she has been for their entire 58 years of marriage. Chuck, as he was known to all, was first and foremost a family man; where other people might name-drop powerful people, he would name-drop his six children every chance he got (to his children’s public chagrin— but inner pride).

After graduating from college at UCLA, Chuck rapidly rose from being a salesman, first in pharmaceuticals then chinaware, to Vice President of Marketing at Syracuse China in 1976 and President in 1984. His work ethic was always aimed toward bettering the life of his family, and he promised, for as long his “gang” can remember, that no matter where they were accepted to college, he would make sure there was money to pay for it. Since his six children all arrived in this world within a span of seven years, this was a big promise, but he kept it.

Chuck’s path from Los Angeles to Syracuse took him, his wife and growing family from Northridge, CA to Columbus, OH to Waldwick, NJ, to Chagrin Falls, OH, to Syracuse, NY, to Mt Kisco, NY, and finally back home to Syracuse. Given the constant moving, his children were often asked if they were army brats, to which they could jokingly reply, “Nope, just brats.”

His “gypsy life” in pursuit of bettering his career was echoed in his love of travel. This included many legendary summer cross-country road trips: eight people in a station wagon, Karen making sandwiches on the road and passing them around the car, daily drives sometimes covering 10 hours, and instructions to the children that bathroom breaks would be when the car needed gas (thank goodness for poor gas mileage.). They collected T-shirts from the National Parks, donuts from the summit of Pikes Peak and visited all the museums and historical sites along the way. Chuck and Karen would tell their children, “We will show you this country, and you can show yourselves the world.” The family has traveled together to 46 states and some of the children have visited all 50.

Chuck and Karen’s travel around the world led to them visiting every continent except Australia— yes, they crossed Antarctica off the list when Chuck was in his 60’s! As a close-knit family, when his children had time, they would often opt to join in on the trips. Nothing was funnier than watching their father’s extraordinarily terrible attempts at speaking the native language, or joking with the locals that he was “not a tourist” with 3 cameras slung over his shoulders. His relaxed nature on the trips and willingness to try everything made every trip a joy, and a reason why his children loved to join in.

Chuck had a quick and easy sense of humor, reflected in terrible puns and running jokes that lasted months, years and sometimes decades.  He loved to tell a good story, especially if it was while he was shaking a margarita (always straight up, never frozen) or pouring the perfect Irish coffee. He could always be found in the kitchen on holidays or other gatherings, helping to prepare the communal meal or tasting whatever dishes were being prepared by others. His children were certain he had seen every Hollywood movie made after 1929 (and when they wandered into a room where he was watching TCM, would often be greeted with a surprised, “You haven’t seen this? Oh, it’s good!”) He read voraciously, anything he could get his hands on, and had a lifelong love affair with natural science and history.

Chuck is survived by his wife Karen, his children: Greg (Sharon) of Middletown, NJ; Laurie of Natick, MA; Kathy of Los Angeles, CA; Eric of Los Angeles, CA; Drew (Kelly) of Las Vegas, NV; and Jenny (Joe) of Greenwich, CT; his grandchildren: Adam, Kyle, Ryan, Matt, Jason, Angela, Jackie, Alex, and Jessica, his sister Terry of Bothell, WA, his niece Dana and his nephew Zac. He was predeceased by his father Zarmond, his mother Phyllis, his step-mother Emmy, and his sister Betty.

A Celebration of a Life Well-Lived will be held at 4:00pm on Saturday, September 23 at The Onondaga Historical Association, 321 Montgomery Street, Syracuse, NY. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to The American Red Cross where Chuck served on the Board or The Onondaga Historical Association.

—Family is not an important thing; it is everything—

Arrangements are with Fairchild & Meech DeWitt Chapel.