John Goodman will forever be known by his friends, family and Plymouth Harbor neighbors as the king of conversation.
Goodman died Jan. 1, at 81 years old.
“He was knowledgeable and always asked probing questions,” says friend Joy McIntyre. “On Tuesday nights he would go to one particular (Plymouth Harbor) table and the woman who hosted it recently said, ‘Our table is flat without John.’ I said, ‘The world is flat without John.’”
McIntyre, who succeeded Goodman as president of the Sarasota Concert Association in 2013, first met him in 1987 at Boston University. Goodman was chairman of the university’s Department of Music Theory and Composition from 1971 to 1988.
The pair played several recitals together, with McIntyre singing and Goodman accompanying her on piano, an instrument he first started playing at the age of 3.
Goodman, a Kansas City, Mo., native, received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees from Northwestern University, the Yale School of Music and Boston University, respectively.
After moving to Sarasota in 2002, he started attending Sarasota Concert Association shows. Within a year, he joined the board, and in 2005 he became president.
Goodman was also involved with Sarasota Music Archives, for which he was president at the time of his death. It was through SMA that he hosted a popular lecture series on opera. The series will be renamed and continue in his honor as the John I. Goodman Performance and Lecture Series.
“He could lecture on anything,” McIntyre says. “On instrumental music, on vocal music … John knew it all.”
Goodman is survived by his sister, Marsha Soloff, his brother-in-law, Buddy Soloff, and nieces Hilarie Steinzeig and Wendy Bryan.
There will be a tribute to Goodman at 11:30 a.m. Jan. 24 at Selby Library's Geldbart Auditorium and a celebration of life at 2 p.m. Jan. 26 at the Plymouth Harbor's Wellness Center. Donations in memory of Goodman can be made to the Sarasota Music Archive or the Sarasota Concert Association.