T SGT. ROBERT D. GOODWIN (USAF RET.), age 84, of Hollow Springs, Tenn., and Estes Park, Colo., passed away Oct. 18, 2012 due to con- gestive heart failure at Middle Ten- nessee Medical Center in Murfreesboro.
Bob was born Oct. 17, 1928, in Cincin- nati, Ohio. He was raised in Cincinnati and Manchester, Tenn. His parents were the late Horace Taylor Goodwin and Frieda Salzer Goodwin. He was the oldest of four children; siblings Dick, Vernita and Dolores preceded him in death.
He was also preceded in death by his beloved wife of 50 years, Maralyn “Ginger” Goodwin in June 2008. He is survived by two sons, Dan (Deb- bie) Goodwin of Murfreesboro and Jason (Mary Bolgeo) Goodwin of Estes Park, Colo.; five grandchildren, Hunter, Heather and Connor Goodwin of Murfreesboro and Nathaniel and Amelia Goodwin of Estes Park.
Bob was an adventurous boy who loved stalking the woods of Tennessee and Ohio all day hunting squirrel and rabbit with a .22 rifle during the Great Depression and World War II. On one occasion he built a raft and launched onto the flooding Ohio River; Bob barely survived when the raft fell apart. He was a standout athlete who set a free-throw record at Mt. Healthy (Ohio) High School – 83 percent for a single season – which stood until 1966. He was also a brilliant student and graduated high school a year early in 1945.
Bob joined the “Brown Shoe” Air Force shortly after it became a separate service from the Army in 1947.
As a young airman and NCO during the Korean War, Bob did two combat tours in a va- riety of aircraft (B-26, C-47 and C-119) performing overt and covert operations as well as an Air Rescue Service crash boat crew recovering downed airmen from the Sea of Japan and inserting intelligence teams and supplies into North Korea in support of the newly
formed Central Intelligence Agency. After seeing Red Chinese troops over- run an airfield from which he’d just taken off, Bob carried two handguns (a S&W .357 Magnum and Colt’s 1911 .38 Super Auto); an M1 Garand and an M3 .45-cal. submachine gun as flight kit for the remainder of the war.
Bob was stationed in the Far East for five years and became an expert prac- titioner of Kodokan Judo; part of his personal “go out hard” operational readiness plan. He carried a Top Secret clearance his entire military career and honored it until death.
In 1955 Bob was assigned to the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, The Hurricane Hunters, flying out of Keesler AFB in Biloxi, Miss., in WB- 50 Superfortress bombers reconfigured to gather information while flying in the eye of hurricanes and tropical storms.
He was then tabbed to be a radio and electronics instructor there, but soon returned to flight status in 1958 at Hamilton AFB in California. There he met and married a young WAF from New Jersey named Ginger Farley. The couple was transferred to Keesler where Bob taught Electronics and Electronic Countermeasures and Dan and Jason were born.
The family was transferred to Otis AFB on Cape Cod, Mass., in 1964, where Bob was again on flight duty with the 551st Airborne Early Warning and Control Wing; the first AWACs unit. He spent the next six years on the spearpoint of U.S. intelligence at the height of the Cold War running ECM and electronic intelligence equipment on EC-121H Warning Star aircraft. The 551st Constellation crews often flew
wingtip-to-wingtip versus Soviet Tu- 95RT Bear bomber/command and con- trol platforms over the North Atlantic. Bob was a lifelong camper, angler, hunter and shooter and the family’s 30 days of military vacation each year were spent touring America in station wagons towing campers and using his lifetime National Park Service Golden Eagle pass.
Bob passed his love of the outdoors to his sons and grandchildren, all of whom he loved dearly. Bob, Ginger and the boys moved to Cannon County in 1970 when he re- tired from the Air Force after 21 years active duty. Within days of arrival he was among the first two dozen people hired at Carrier Corp.’s new plant in Morrison, Tenn.
He worked second shift quality control and Inspection there for the next 22 years before retiring. Bob was diag- nosed with congestive heart failure that same year, but it barely slowed him down for a long time.
In those later years he loved taking long road trips with Ginger to Col- orado, New Mexico and other points west. He killed a pronghorn antelope buck at age 74 near Medicine Bow, Wyo., in the fall of 2002, while hunting with his sons.
He was too weak to hunt after that, but still loved to drive through Rocky Mountain National Park several times a week looking at critters over the past three years and relished “gnawing on” elk steak.
He loved reading mysteries, thrillers, spy novels and military history. Despite his technical background he refused to get a computer or correspond electron- ically. He paid his bills in person when- ever possible.
He also loved Doberman Pinschers, high quality German and Japanese op- tics, knives, high-tech outerwear, accu- rate rifles and smooth-swinging shotguns. He thought the Bighorn Restaurant in Estes Park was the best eatery in the world.
He liked to whistle and sing snatches of tunes from the 1940s-’60s while he worked at the reloading bench. “My Home’s in Montana,” “Rye Whiskey”
and the “Healthy High School Alma Mater” were particular favorites. Bob believed Teddy Roosevelt, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan were our greatest presidents because they made America stronger. He loved James Bond and Clint Eastwood films better than any others.
For all his warmth and humor, Bob was a very private person and did not want a public funeral service. He was cre- mated and a private family service will be held at Murfreesboro Funeral Home. Bob’s and Ginger’s ashes will later be interred or scattered together at a favorite spot, as part of a family re- union.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks do- nations for research and education be made to the Heart Failure Society of America at hfsa.org/contact_us.asp. They also ask that you pray for our re- maining veterans of World War II, Korea, the Cold War and Vietnam; we’re losing more every day.
Those wishing may send condolences online at www.murfreesborofuneral- home.com
Murfreesboro Funeral Home, 145 Innsbrooke Blvd, Murfreesboro, TN. 615-896-2229.