In the late winter of 1980, while visiting his children in New Jersey, Goodman caught a cold, which turned into pneumonia. He went to Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, where he could have specialists treat him, but he remained in intensive care. He passed away on March 13.
He planned his own funeral to include lots of music. It took place at Penney Farms on March 29. National Chief Jeffrie A. Herrmann and National Executive Secretary William F. Downs eulogized the founder. Downs spoke of his leadership as a member of the professional staff of the BSA, and said he was both a gentleman and a gentle man. Taking his cue from the Order’s ceremonies, he ended with the words,
May the virtues which he represented glow the brighter in our hearts and consciences.