Richard Michael Goodman
This photo is of Dad giving me away at my wedding 27 years ago.
It’s hard to speak of Dad already in the past tense. Just a year ago he was leading a normal life – he went to Nottingham to visit my daughter in her final year of university, re-tracing his own steps as a student in Nottingham 60 years earlier. This year has been very hard seeing Dad’s health decline and with eventual cancer diagnosis and then the ravages of the treatment, finishing with a month in hospital.
All of us knew Richard, Dad, as an honest, hard-working, kind, fair and generous person, more interested in giving than in receiving, both with money and time. He was the kind of person who quietly got on with things in the background, never wanting to draw attention to himself. Many of these attributes were part of his upbringing, but I also know that his Christian faith shaped him as a person: the more he learned that God loved him, the more he learned to love others.
Dad was always a strong and safe father for us – he was easy-going, not too strict – we had a happy home. I feel like I could ask Dad how to do almost anything and he would know the answer. He was wise and calm, almost never angry. He was also a physically strong man, very hard-working in both physical work and office work. He was brilliant at finding his way round and always remembered places he’d been to. Since I left home, I could always rely on him to be so helpful and practical when he came to stay with me in Cambridge, doing all the DIY jobs in the house and garden.
Memories of Dad when we were growing up are that he was usually out working on the farm, but when he was at home with us, I remember often watching TV shows with him (The A Team, Dukes of Hazard, Last of the Summer Wine, Mastermind, Crocodile Dundee!) We always thought Dad was a child at heart and loved watching Disney films and cartoons. Our annual summer holiday was always spent at the beach, usually in Wales, on the beach in all weathers, building sand castles or digging holes, playing cricket, always being active.
Having met Mum while living in South Wales, Dad always retained a deep love for Wales. He had spent his own childhood holidays there, and so many of ours were also there. He loved to swim in the sea even if cold.
For Mum, Dad was not only her husband of 52 years, but also always her best friend and main support. I would like to pay tribute to Mum, Sarah, who has stood by as Dad’s helper and friend for over 52 years, keeping the home fires burning so that he could do all he did for others in the community. In this past year of his illness she has cared for him tirelessly 24/7, what an amazing wife and example she is. I’m so glad that she has many local friends and family who will support her from now on.
It’s wonderful that my sister Wendy, Jim & Lizzie have lived at Old Yates for 9 years. My brother-in-law Jim told me he has lost not only a father-in-law but also a friend. We will all miss him tremendously. Dad had a great sense of humour and we will always remember his jokes. Mum and Wendy especially always had a lot of banter with him.
It is unbearably hard to imagine Old Yates without Dad there – his hand-print is on everything there. What a beautiful place that God gave him to live in and to shape. I will always think of him when I am there. The farm, the holiday cottages when they had them, the garden were all kept so tidy by Dad – he took pride in what he could do to make his surroundings look pleasant.
In his farming career, Dad was quite visionary and had ideas of starting up new projects which he then carried out. When Mum & Dad moved to Old Yates, they converted some derelict buildings and old farm workers cottages into holiday cottages. This become the main occupation for Mum and Dad, for about 30 years and they put great effort into keeping them well maintained, clean and welcoming, as well as being there to see to the needs of the 1000s of holiday-makers who came over the years.
We’ve just heard about his roles on the parish council and as a school governor, amongst the many committees he was on. Dad was organised and good at public speaking and leading meetings, so he was in demand.
Dad threw himself into serving the needs of the local community and the Methodist church in Stourport. He had a major role in that church community, serving in numerous ways. When in his mid 60s Dad felt called to be preaching in the Methodist Church and was trained up to be a local preacher, leading services at not only his own church in Stourport but also other local Methodist churches. He dedicated a lot of his time preparing the services and sermons and was appreciated by many in all those churches.
During the pandemic Dad joined various Christian meetings online. Dad enjoyed the online mens breakfast on Saturdays, keeping in touch with other Christian men at a time when in-person meetings were not allowed. This group was part of Top Barn ministries from Holt.
By summer last year Dad had decided to move to another small church in Stourport, Christ Church of which Leo is the pastor. Dad was only able to join that church community for a few months before he became too unwell to attend, but carried on joining in the services and mid-week prayer meetings via Zoom. It was a short time but he really appreciated the fellowship of Christ Church.
I give thanks for the great father that he has been, as well as faithful and loving husband to Mum. I am thankful that Dad was young enough to have many wonderful years also as a grandfather. He was always busy working on the farm when we were young children – I think he probably enjoyed more time with his grandchildren.
Dad’s 6 grandchildren range in age between 10 and 21 and he loved them very much. I know that he regularly prayed for them all and took an interest in what they were up to. He loved playing games with them, board games, often family favourite games that he had played as a child. Of course he loved watching films with them. When his eldest grandchild was just a toddler he would make a play house for her out of a big cardboard box. A few years later he went on to build a proper wooden little house by the woods outside their garden, enjoyed by all the grandchildren over the years. As the children grew older he enjoyed watching the boys with all their sporting events and watching the girls do dance shows.
Richard Goodman. Good Man. We’ll all agree that Richard was a good man. He was a wonderful man, husband, father, brother, uncle, neighbour, friend. But Dad would want everyone to know that neither he nor any of us are really good, only God is good. Dad was already in his 40s when he received God’s love and forgiveness in Jesus Christ’s death on the cross and it’s by believing and receiving that truth that he has the gift of eternal life now. This is not because of any goodness of his own, but because of God’s grace to him.
Dad always got up early, out of habit – for many years he milked the cows at 6am. As a Christian, Dad used his time early in the morning to read the Bible and pray for many of us daily. His joy in God grew and grew over the years and gave him inspiration for his day ahead. All through his illness, he grew so close to God and drew strength from knowing God was with him through it all and God would take him home. His faith in the Lord has enabled him to face this terrible illness with a grace and a fortitude that must shine out to everyone who has seen him.
In the Gospel of John, Chapter 4, Jesus Christ spoke about the living water, spiritual water, that he freely gives to shoe who ask for it: “the water I give them will become in them a spring welling up to eternal life” – Dad was in his 40s when he drank that water, and began his journey on the path to eternal life – he now has reached that destination and so I rejoice he is with the Lord. This water of life is available to all of us – Jesus offers it freely, no matter whether we are young or old, starting out in life, or near the end.
Dad always loved dancing. At university he had learned Scottish dancing, so when he and Mum married and moved to Great Witley, together with other friends their age they started a monthly Scottish dancing group which for decades featured in their social life. Dad’s illness this year made him increasingly unable to walk or latterly to even stand. How wonderful to think that now he is dancing in the presence of God! Dad is in that place where there is no more suffering or pain, only endless joy. 40 years of worshipping God on earth will now continue for all eternity.