There were so many people that Arnold Goodman affected in such a positive, uplifting way that even he probably didn’t realize the tremendous impact his teachings and his niceness would have on others for the remainder of their lives.
Richard Perlman is but one example of the countless youths and students who admired and revered Arnold Goodman, a former Chelsea teacher and coach, who died Saturday at the age of 80.
Perlman is 70 years old now, but he was once a kid from Brookline attending Camp Bauercrest in Amesbury where Arnold Goodman worked as a counselor and assistant director.
“It was 1957 and he was my counselor and I never forgot him,” said Perlman. “He was just the most wonderful person to look up to. He was the nicest man and I’ve always regretted not ever seeing him since then. It still bothers me to this day. I just wanted to shake his hand and say thank you for everything. I’m 70 years old and I still remember him with a smile. He was tremendous, a class guy. He became a role model for how people act and should act. I didn’t even realize it then, but I did many years later. I never forgot Arnie Goodman.”
Attorney and Rhodes Scholar Thomas Birmingham, National Football League All-Pro Mark Bavaro, wonderful lifelong and loyal friends Anthony “Chubby” Tiro and Frankie Moran, and some of his most brilliant former Shurtleff School students like Roberta and Jan Rubin joined hundreds of others in paying tribute to Arnold Goodman at funeral services Tuesday at Temple Emanuel in Chelsea.
Birmingham, an academically gifted student at Shurtleff Junior High who would go on to attend Harvard College and Harvard Law School and become president of the Massachusetts State Senate, said, “Mr. Goodman was a mentor to me in multiple ways. He was my Little League coach in baseball. He coached me when I played football for Shurtleff Junior High. He was my homeroom teacher and he was my English teacher. I also went to Camp Robie and he was a major presence at Camp Robie. So he had a major influence on me as he did on so many others as the number of people in attendance really eloquently demonstrated.”
Birmingham said Goodman was “a great teacher in every sense of the word.”
“Whether it was English class or Little League Baseball, he taught it very well and he was quiet in his approach,” said Birmingham. “He really valued sportsmanship. I remember he was coaching Little League and one of the players asked Mr. Goodman, “Pitcher blowing up,” meaning do you want us to say that chant. I think Mr. Goodman misinterpreted that and everybody started chanting, ‘Pitcher’s blowing up’ and that’s one of the few times I saw him get angry. He said, “Stop that, what are you doing?”
Mr. Goodman’s daughters, Kimberly Goodman Cooperstein and Carrie Cohen delivered the eulogy that perfectly captured the life of the former Chelsea High and Boston University basketball star, beloved teacher, coach, husband, father, father-in-law, and grandfather, or “Papa,” as his own Fab Five of Sarah, Sophie, David, Benjamin, and Ethan called him.
“Everything his daughters and the rabbi [Nelson Cywiak] said about Arnie was true,” said Moran, who would meet his friend often at Kelly’s in Saugus to confer about sports and the issues of the day. “He was a wonderful person, friendly, nice, courteous – a true gentleman. I never saw him get rattled about anything. I’m honored to be quoted about him.”
With their own words, daughters Cooperstein and Cohen lived up to their father’s eloquence and wit, blending biographical pieces about his athletic and academic achievements and growing up in Chelsea with touching tales about Arnold Goodman, the proud family man.
“His biggest and best achievement was finding his beautiful wife, Marlene, his angel. After they married. they moved to Peabody, where Arnie served on the Rent Control Board as a member and chair for over 23 years. Even after he moved to Peabody, Chelsea was always with him and he visited frequently. During our childhood, we could always count on dad. He always coached us, whether it be on the court, on the sidelines, or later home, with good advice and encouragement to achieve our best. He was so pleased with the addition of two wonderful sons-in-law and nothing made him happier than when he became “Papa” to his five grandchildren.”
Arnold Goodman died peacefully surrounded by his family at his home in Peabody. People always said that he was an aptly named fellow for this was a “good man.”
David Mugford wore a Shurtleff School ninth grade state championship basketball team pin to Tuesday’s services. It was Arnold Goodman who coached that team.
Said Mugford, “Mr. Goodman was a hero to me. Everything from the time I met him at Shurtleff School – he was like a father to me. He was the best teacher and coach I ever had. And thanks to him I still write legibly. Look at the guest book for today’s tribute. I printed my name because Mr. Goodman always printed on the blackboard.”