Goody Garfield’s Celebration of Life
April 18, 2:00pm (Central Time)
The Garfield Family invites you to participate in a virtual celebration of life for Goody Garfield, on Sunday, April 18, from 2:00pm – 3:15pm CT.
There will be music, photos, and eulogies, and if time permits, there may be an opportunity for additional remembrances.
“Doors will open” at 1:50pm, at which time you can log into the event, and see a photo slideshow. The program will start at 2:00.
Meeting ID: 292 405 4137
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Meeting ID: 292 405 4137
Goodwin (Goody) Garfield
7/17/1925 – 3/11/2021
Our joyous, curious, playful, eternally youthful husband, father, grandfather, uncle, son, and friend Goody Garfield died peacefully in his sleep, bathed in the love of family and his extended community, near and far. He was 95.
The youngest of Kalman and Anna Garfunkel’s five children, Goody was born at the family’s home in Toronto, Ontario, a hub of activity in the neighborhood for his relatives, family, friends, and other members of the immigrant Jewish community.
The family and community experience stayed with him throughout his life. He would describe himself above all as a “family man,” and his life revolved around his wife and kids, relatives, friends, and colleagues all over the world. He adored his beloved companion of 64 years, Shirley Garfield, as much in recent years as when they married. And he was equally devoted to his children, grandchild, nephews, nieces, and extended relations.
He dedicated his work life to helping others through the practice of social work, starting his long career in New York City’s settlement houses, the now century-old network of havens where residents of the city’s impoverished neighborhoods could seek assistance, education, or respite. He served as the executive director of the Bronx River Neighborhood Jewish Center, and later with the settlement houses’ umbrella organization for policy and social change, the United Neighborhood Houses.
He had a passion for teaching and mentoring young people, which led him to start an academic career in his mid-40s. From 1969 until his retirement in 2003, he taught in the Kansas University School of Social Welfare, and for 15 years served as the school’s Director of Field Practicum. He worked hard and was proud to earn his doctorate while working full time and raising a family, and later appreciated it when people would address him as “Professor” or “Doctor.” But far more than that, he loved teaching and helping guide the careers of young students. To the best of our knowledge, the love was mutual.
He didn’t think of himself as a very religious man, since he did not closely observe ritual, but Judaism was the most fundamental part of his identity. He celebrated the culture; he treated people with the utmost respect; he carried out acts of kindness to heal the world. He served as the faculty advisor to the KU campus Hillel chapter in the 1980s and 1990s; he was an active member of the Lawrence Jewish Community Center since the family’s arrival in the community, and he was the long-time “greeter” at the annual
LJCC Blintz Brunch. Few things gave him as much pleasure as presiding over Passover seders with family and friends, guiding us through his handcrafted services, filled with stories he’d discovered of justice struggles, progressive reinterpretations of old rituals, and “haikus for jews.”
Goody was a great fan of classical music and jazz of the 1930s and ‘40s, Broadway musicals of any era, and great performances of virtually anything. He didn’t need to know a song’s lyrics or melody to break out in verse because he’d just invent them himself. He loved the great comedians from the Borscht Belt to Trevor Noah and Stephen Colbert. He’d re-tell their jokes, but his schtick was all his own. He was an avid reader, and delighted in conversation about politics, religion, literature, and popular culture. In retirement, he volunteered for Audio-Reader, an information service for the blind and visually impaired. He loved sports, playing hockey and baseball growing up in Toronto, and then later racquetball in Kansas, winning tournaments into his 60s against college students. He was a fixture at KU basketball games for decades, bringing his kids to Allen Fieldhouse throughout their childhood.
Goody lived with wonder for the world, with an insatiable curiosity, and with a nearly infinite supply of stories and jokes. He found nothing more fascinating than learning about other people’s lives; he’d constantly approach strangers and strike up conversations. His circle of friends reached far and wide, and was still expanding even in his final months. Good friends became part of his family, and while he was an elder of that extended family for decades, he forever played the part of “youngest child.” He made each and every person feel like they were the most important person in his life, and he simply loved making them laugh.
He was preceded in death by his parents, and by his four brothers and sisters — Lillian, Bertram, Ruth, and Howard. He is survived by his wife Shirley; his children David Garfield of Lawrence, KS; Deborah Garfield of Ashland, MA; Michael Garfield (Catherine Marquardt) and their son Noah of Ann Arbor, MI; his nephews, nieces, adopted children, and an extraordinary community of friends, former colleagues, and acquaintances from around the world.
His memory will live on in the hearts and minds of all who knew him. Contributions in his name can be made to the Lawrence Jewish Community Center, to Audio-Reader, or to Van Go, an art-based social services agency that employs at-risk youth.
A celebration of life will be held on April 18 at 2:00pm Central Time; information about the event will be provided through the Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home site and the Lawrence Jewish Community Center.