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Our History

Elder Goodman

Profile - Goodman as Elder Statesman Post Retirement

Goodman’s retirement in 1951 allowed him to spend more time with his wife Louise. They lived during the winter in the Penney Farms retirement community near Jacksonville, Florida and during the summer at a small farm in Bondville, Vermont, with both a house and a barn, which the Goodmans converted to living quarters with rooms for their children and grandchildren, named Brotherhood Barn. In 1948, OA lodges from around the country sent stones from their local camps to Bondville, to be incorporated into a new fireplace at the barn. A sketch of Goodman talking to two Arrowmen in front of the fireplace became an icon, and graced the Founder’s personal stationery.

The happy couple traveled around the world in 1962, starting from Vermont, crossing Canada and the US Pacific Coast by train, then from San Francisco to Hawaii and Australia, on to Malaya, Ceylon, Aden, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, Great Britain, France, Ireland and back to New York. They stayed with the Governor General of Tasmania, Lord Rowallan, a former Chief Scout of the British Commonwealth. At the annual St. George’s Day parade at Windsor Castle, when the Royal Family reviews the year’s crop of Queen’s Scouts, Goodman met Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip.

Always devout, Goodman wrote hymns and religious music throughout his life. He also served as a lay minister, which he was able to do for longer periods now. During his life, he held 26 pulpits, including two at sea during cruises.

For many years, Arrowmen urged him to write an autobiography. In 1965, to celebrate the Order’s 50th birthday, he penned a series of reminiscences called The Building of a Life. True to form, the autobiography of this modest man of great accomplishments was less about him than it was about the many people he encountered during his life, and how each of them impacted him. He actually prepared an outline for a biography to be written by several friends, but it never materialized.

He busied himself with the innumerable activities of the Order. He was an active member of the National OA Committee, mostly in the role of an adviser. He spoke at lodge and section events, and visited with individual Arrowmen, usually high school or college students, who trekked to see him at Penney Farms or the Brotherhood Barn. He was the featured speaker at National OA Conferences (NOAC), often entertaining the crowd with his singing or organ playing, and always giving the closing address and challenge at the final show – a blend of humor and inspiration no Arrowman would ever forget.