Rockingham mourns the loss of a friend, neighbor and coach.
Jerry Lee Goodman, 73, of Rockingham, died Wednesday at his home. He was born in Richmond County on Feb. 20, 1939, a son of the late John Lawrence Goodman and Maggie Wallace Goodman.
“Coach Jerry Goodman loved life more than anyone I have ever known and he truly loved Rockingham and Richmond County,” said Rockingham Mayor Gene McLaurin.
Goodman was a 1957 graduate of Rockingham High School, where he lettered in four sports and played in the 1956 Shrine Bowl football game. He was a 1961 graduate of Wake Forest University and was a member of the baseball team. Goodman started his teaching and coaching career at Greensboro Page High School, and returned to Rockingham High School to coach and teach in 1962.
He moved to Richmond Senior High in 1972 to teach history/civics and coach varsity basketball and cross country. Goodman started his own business, Jerry’s Shoe Corner, in Rockingham, before returning to college to earn a master’s degree in School Administration at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, and joining the staff at Hamlet Junior High as Assistant Principal. He became Assistant Principal and Athletic Director at Richmond Senior High and retired in 2003.
“When I was a little child, Jerry was my idol,” said Ken Goodman, nephew of Jerry Goodman. “He was bigger than life to me then. He coached me in high school and we had a close relationship. We were related, but we were also good friends. He worked at the (furniture) store for a while between jobs. It was great.
“Jerry was great at everything he did,” Ken Goodman continued. “He could have been a big-time coach if he wanted to, but he loved Rockingham and Richmond County and this is where he wanted to be. He was really a great person and we will all miss him very much. We have great memories. He had such a big family; nine bothers and two sisters. My father was oldest and he was second youngest. We were also tennis buddies and played tennis together a few times a week. Jerry was just good to people and I’m grateful to have known him. My life’s much better because of that.”
Ken Goodman said his uncle Jerry was a man who did kind things for people he didn’t even know.
“I’m still in a state of shock,” said Bill Dennis. “Jerry was a good man. He loved his friends, family and his community. He and I would get to reminiscing about the Sheriff, R.W. Goodman. He loved the outdoors and working in the yard. He would cut my shrubbery for me and he would laugh when I gave him money because he didn’t need it and he would say, ‘It’s extra coffee money.’ He was just a great person who would help anyone and he will be missed by the whole community.”
“He was a people person in every respect,” Mayor McLaurin said. “Coach was always upbeat and his positive personality was contagious and made him a friend to many people in all walks of life. He was my high school basketball coach and I will never forget the lessons in life I learned from him about staying focused, never giving up and working together as a team.
“Everyone at City Hall joins me in sadness as we remember his many contributions to our community and our people. Coach Goodman will be missed more than I can ever put into words. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to Beverly, Shannon , Brandon and the entire family,” said McLaurin.
Funeral services will be 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3, at First United Methodist Church in Rockingham with Rev. Mike Sykes and Rev. Allison Farrah officiating. Interment will follow at Richmond Memorial Park. The family will receive friends in the fellowship hall of the church Saturday from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Memorials may be made to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, 2425 Park Road, Charlotte, NC 28201 or www.redcross.org. A complete obituary can be found inside today’s edition.
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at email@example.com.