The passing of Arnie Goodman removes from the local scene a man who truly gave his heart and soul to everything that was Chelsea on so many levels.
Arnie loved the city in which he was born and raised, and though Chelsea changed greatly over the decades, he never forgot his roots. Arnie was a beloved English teacher at the Shurtleff School and later taught English and physical education at the Williams School and Chelsea High School. But unlike many in his profession who go home at the end of the school day, Arnie’s work was just beginning when the final school bell rang. He ran the Shurtleff Intramural Basketball League and also served for many years as the junior varsity basketball coach and head coach of the Chelsea High boys basketball team. Arnie himself was an outstanding basketball player at CHS (from which he graduated with the Class of 1950) and went on to play basketball at Boston University. In all of these capacities, he served as a mentor to countless generations of students in the local school system.
In addition to his professional responsibilities, Arnie served in countless other roles in our community. He was a man of boundless energy and enthusiasm, who was a player and President of the Chelsea Municipal Fast Pitch Softball League during its heyday when the league nightly drew large crowds to Carter Park when the local loop was one of the best softball leagues in the area. Among his other well-known roles, Arnie was one of the originators of the Wild Animal Basketball League at the YMHA for young men; he was the Voice of the Red Devils as the public address announcer at Chelsea High football games; he wrote the “Sports of All Sorts” column for The Chelsea Record; he was one of the founders of the Chelsea High Sports Hall of Fame; and he was a member of the Chelsea Grand Reunion Committee (which held its gala reunion event Saturday night at Chelsea High), attending its regular meetings until recently when his long and courageous battle with pancreatic cancer finally began to take its toll.
For those of us who knew Arnie Goodman for literally almost our entire lives, we’ll remember that every conversation with “The Professor” was an enjoyable occasion, marked by his vast knowledge on virtually every subject and always intermingled with his opinions, wit, and sense of irony that is born and bred into everyone who grew up as a member of a certain generation in this city.
Arnie Goodman was a man who was respected and liked by all who had the good fortune to know him. When he turned 80 last year, there was a great birthday celebration conducted by family and friends at the Continental Restaurant. Arnie made an emotional speech on that day, thanking his family and friends for the tribute. We know we join with countless thousands of others in sending our condolences to his beloved wife Marlene and his daughters Kimberley and Carrie. He was a one of a kind person who really will be missed.